Advice on hunting for a journalism job (and handling being fired)

Very interesting and informative.

The Buttry Diary

I’ve rounded up some of my links to help with job-hunting and dealing with being fired.

Most of these links won’t be a huge help to my Thunderdome colleagues because they already have excellent networks and strong digital profiles. But I’m going to reread my own advice because something I know that’s not at the front of my mind might be helpful to me as I move on from Digital First Media. So I share it in case it might help my colleagues or others who’ve been fired (sadly, we have plenty of company).

Tips on landing your next job in digital journalism

Job-hunting advice for journalists selling skills in the digital market

Use digital tools to showcase your career and your work

Confessions (strategies) of a branded journalist (or a journalist with a reputation, if you prefer)

Your digital profile tells people a lot

These posts have more general…

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Social Media: not for faint-hearted executives!

Another great blog from Theo Coggin. I still cannot believe that in this day and age people still don’t realise the power of social media. It can certainly make or break a company or person.

Theo Coggin

Social media has exploded. Without question it is now the most influential medium in institutions as divergent as politics, business, the non profit sector, security industry (and its nemeses, crime), health and religion. In North Africa governments have fallen as a result of social media.

In August 2011, they were the means by which gangs of criminally minded young people in England sped from one assembly point to the next as they indiscriminately looted shops and businesses and generally caused mayhem.

ostrich with head in sandNow, entities in the various institutions mentioned above have woken up to the fact – some are still coming out of their slumbers – that the likes of Facebook and Twitter, to mention two of the best-known, are incredibly powerful communication tools. With the realisation that the chief executive or his or her trusted lackey are not the best persons to have the responsibility of using these powerful tools…

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Eish! English is wonderful!

I am the person who has decided to go and learn how to teach English as a second language as described in this blog. I find the way that words are formed and its origins most fascinating. This is a great blog and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Theo Coggin

One of my colleagues is updating her skills by doing a course at University on teaching English as a second language. She says that one of the most interesting parts has been the construction of words.

English has a wonderful array of words. Being a dynamic language, it is able to assimilate new words with consummate ease.

Coat_of_arms_of_South_Africa.svgI often think that we in South Africa are luckier than most. South Africa boasts eleven official languages, and that is before one counts the unofficial languages such as those spoken by the ǀXam  people (none of their languages is official even though the country’s Coat of Arms bears its motto in a Khoisan language, viz ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke which translates literally to “Diverse people unite”).

It also does not take into account a language such as Fanagalo, a pidgin (simplified language) based primarily on Zulu, with English and…

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Communicate, don’t preach!

Another excellent lesson from Theo Coggin. It’s so important to look at our writing critically and assess whether we are indeed preaching to our audience.

Theo Coggin

When running the Quo Vadis Communication courses I can always tell which of the delegates come out of a fundamentalist view of advertising, religious beliefs or political persuasion. They are the ones whose faces glaze over when I explain the first principle we consider in our media relations and Corporate Communications courses.

That principle, simply put, says that organisational communications “is not for preaching” or, expressed another way, should not smack of propaganda.

Of course that is the very antithesis of communication when one is writing advertising copy, preaching a sermon in a mosque, church, or worshipping while at shul, or in any other religious context, or trying to persuade someone to vote for a particular political party.

Communicating in a manner that promotes any one of those forms has its place. And that place is firmly in the corner of bias and a lack of objectivity.

Now the latter…

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By Jingo!

Great blog. Always good to be reminded to keep it simple. It’s so easy to revert to using long words etc.

Theo Coggin

From iteachicoachiblog.blogspot.comThe irony of politics and language always provides a fascinating examination. And lots to learn from.

It intrigues me that, in a country that eschews the imperialist jingoism of a bygone age, so many of the authors of public documents are drawn to expressing themselves in what can most charitably be described as Shakespearean English. Less charitably one might dub it colonial English.

There is no doubt that such authors will be aghast, even feel insulted, by these observations. Regrettably any defensiveness on their part would soon wear thin.

Phrases to denote a sum of money, much loved by accountants, have entered the lexicon of such authors. So it is not good enough, for example, simply to say $532,371 but to spell it out, word for word.

And, just in case they feel they are addressing an innumerate and illiterate moron, they add the figures in brackets. Not only is…

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Tutorial for virgin grammarians

Excellent article.

Theo Coggin


The corporate business world is a rich source of communication gobbledegook – or just poor English. So too are governments the world over.  But let me confine my remarks here to business – and to one outstanding global brand in particular: Virgin Atlantic.

Now that’s a brand I have always highly respected. I never fly any other airline if I can help it. But a recent experience left me and my wife disappointed so we sent off a note to the local folk at Virgin noting our disappointment that we had not been given our seats as indicated when we booked. And also noting that we were otherwise very happy.

About three weeks after sending the email, we sent a reminder, wondering what had happened to our email. Had it become lost in cyberspace?  Clearly not, for eight days afterwards (and almost four weeks to the day after the…

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Great advice for writing

Many people throw their arms up in dismay when one suggests to them that they write. Their objections flow thick and fast but it normally boils down to the fact that they can’t get started or that they just find it too difficult.


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