If you don’t know who Regina is, she’s a two-time Pulitzer Prize Finalist, author and columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I’ve been reading her column for years, and I found her talk to be very enlightening. So I sent Regina a few questions via email last week and below are her answers. I think you’ll find her answers interesting.
1. How important is storytelling in your business?
Storytelling is still the heart of good journalism. Stories are what people remember and pass along. Statistics and data might be interesting, but a good story is evergreen. It sticks in the memory, it leaves an imprint on the heart.
2. How do you produce so much content over and over through the years and keep it fresh?
There is an endless supply of material. Life hands it to you. Everyone has stories to tell or stories they are afraid to tell. I do a lot of public speaking. Every time I talk to a group, I hear more stories which make for more columns. The way to keep it fresh is to keep an open mind and an open heart to the people who call and email you with ideas.
3. What do you do if there is no story? Move on or try to force one?
There’s always a story, it just might not be the one you had in mind. One of my lessons is, Over prepare and go with the flow. I do a lot of going with the flow. I see it like a pie: I can’t give readers the entire pie, just one slice. Sometimes the slice I set out to give them was supposed to be apple pie and I discover it’s cherry. Either way, the reader can enjoy it.
4. Will children under the age of ten today use printed newspapers like they do today in 10+ years?
It’s a mystery what we’ll all be using in ten years. The world evolves so fast and technology is changing so fast, I don’t believe we can predict that far ahead. I do believe this: children and adults will always want to read. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a newspaper or in a book or on a screen or iPhone or iPad. The words will always matter. That’s where we need to put our time, energy, focus and passion.