When I attended several recent news events and conferences I noticed thatwhen I entered the room, people’s “hackles” immediately went up-they either stopped talking or began speaking in muted tones, as if they were afraid I would hear what they were saying.
Then, at one conference, a well-known speaker acknowledged my presence in the front row of a jam-packed conference room, then proceeded to say, “I know that the ‘press’ is in the room, but I don’t care if I am quoted or not on what I am about to say!”
When I walk into a room everyone seems to be worried that I will take an errant comment out of context, misquote someone or blow a topic out of proportion. True, I would love to hear about a hot or interesting topic to write about, but in writing any story I try to be careful, accurate and fair.
My background, both as an editor and reporter has been with daily newspapers, magazines, radio and television news. Yes, you can be sure, if I were working in one of those media, such concerns might be warranted. However, Insurance Journal readers, conference sponsors and speakers should keep in mind there is a big difference between the business press and the consumer press. The main difference is that when I went out looking for a story for a newspaper or television news story, I was looking for “blood”-but please don’t group me with them.
When I cover an insurance industry meeting, seminar or conference, I am looking for news or feature material of interest to independent insurance agents. I consider writing for Insurance Journal “pure journalism.” I will, to the best of my ability, provide a honest and forthright rendition of what happened and try to give a balanced report.
I am looking for a news peg, on which to base a story, but it will revolve around what a majority of Insurance Journal readers are interested in-not an attempt to rake you, or any of your concerns over the coals!
I, nor any of the other Insurance Journal editors in various regions across the United States are the enemy; in fact, you should consider us your friends-our goal is to positively write your news or feature information and to present your side of the story-we need your cooperation to do so. I encourage readers who have news to report in any of the Southeastern states to call me or send me an e-mail.
One big constraint editors have in writing about conferences is that the number of advertisements determine the number of editorial pages in each issue. It’s a simple formula, the more you advertise and support Insurance Journal, the more room there will be to include YOUR news in an issue.
And, please, keep in mind that when I walk into a room, I am not your enemy; I am there to write honest and accurate stories about what happens and present your most important news to our readers about topics of interest to them.