Richard Hine's Blog - Posts Tagged "the-office"

This is not a blog entry, more of a price alert: The Kindle edition of Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch is now on sale for just £1.99 in the UK -- 78% off the list price.

The novel currently has 28 reviews on Amazon UK, averaging 4 stars. In the words of one top Amazon UK reviewer: "it could be another in an already fairly crowded range of Nick Hornby-style novels about middle-aged men and their mid-life crises. However it's worth checking out, because whilst that is in fact what the book is about, it's a very good example of the kind."

If you do check it out, please let me know what you think.
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Published on September 20, 2011 07:58 • 173 views • Tags: advertising, debut-novel, fiction, humour, journalism, kindle, kindle-books, lad-lit, media, new-york-city, newspapers, satire, social-media, the-office, uk
I was asked recently by Brand Republic, a UK media & marketing website, to write something that would help its readers navigate the changing world of traditional media. Because that site is for subscribers only, I'm going to share what I wrote below. Comments are always welcome.


How to Survive the Death of Print: A handy guide for newspaper and magazine people

By Richard Hine

Just so we’re clear: I’m here to help. Not to argue.

I know that as a newspaper or magazine employee you’re extremely capable of making a compelling case that: “print still has a place in people’s lives.” Maybe it does. But so does poetry. And badminton. And frankly we don’t have much time. So let’s move on.

Today I’m going to outline 10 simple steps that will show you exactly How to Survive the Death of Print. For your own sake, I hope you pay close attention.

Step 1. Stop being so defensive.

I have to point out that I’m still feeling a lot of resistance from you. I can feel you itching to tell me that nothing beats the feel a beautiful, glossy magazine in your pudgy, damp hands. Or the serendipity of coming across that one vitally important nugget of information you know is buried somewhere in your stack of unread papers. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now let it go.

Step 2. Put as many of these words as you can into a single sentence.

App. Tablet. Paywall. SEO optimisation. Monetisation. Customisation. Particle acceleration. Mobile. Geo-targeted. Click-through rate. Finish your sentence with this phrase: “but at the end of the day it’s all about the content, and that’s what’s going to set us apart.”

Step 3. Find out from FourSquare or Facebook Places where your company’s “digital guru” is at this moment.

Find her. Show her the sentence you just wrote. Ask her if it makes sense purely on technical terms. Then beg her to rewrite it into something a normal human being might understand.

Step 4. Memorize your revised sentence.

Use it in every meeting you attend and email you write for the next six months.

Step 5. Ignore that new piece of “good news” about print.

You may be tempted to trumpet some not-bad new statistic, like: “Newspaper ad revenues are declining slightly more slowly in the 3rd quarter.” Or: “In Norway, circulation in the women’s category fell only 0.7% last year.” Don’t fall into that trap. Remember step 1.

Step 6. Make your boss a key ally in your success.

The real world of print media is nothing like The Devil Wears Prada. Unless you’re working for Anna Wintour, your real boss will be nothing like Meryl Streep or the Miranda Priestly character. She will be sweet, charming and well-mannered, with only occasional freakouts. Ignore the freakouts. Just remember your boss is completely terrified of being usurped by a 25-year-old with the interpersonal skills of Mark Zuckerberg. Your challenge is to convince her you’re her loyal ally, and also that you “know digital” in a non-intimidating way. Every time Facebook decides on a new definition of “privacy” for 800 million people, make sure to volunteer to update your boss’s account settings. Note: You will also need to explain to her exactly what hashtags are at least once a month.

Step 7. Add the words “… and social media strategist” to your job title on your CV and include them in your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.

Do this whether you’re a journalist, work in ad sales or circulation, or at the printing plant. But do this especially if you’re a higher paid executive who’s “at risk” the next time the company decides to “re-rationalise the cumbersome complexity” of its recently re-organised corporate structure.

Step 8. Cultivate a mentor.

Why do you need a mentor when you get on so well with your terrific boss? Because your boss will be fired within the next 6-12 months, that’s why. Seriously, are you not paying attention to what’s going on around you? Note: Your mentor should be somebody senior who has jokingly expressed jealousy of the way your boss has set up her Facebook privacy settings.

Step 9. Get up early each morning and read a quality newspaper.

This will make you better informed than any of your peers, but when they ask you how you know so much, point to your Blackberry, Android or iPad and say you get all your news whilst “on the go.” Reading a good newspaper will also help you identify other industries that might make sense for a smart, resourceful person like you when this whole thing goes pear-shaped.

Step 10. Focus on the big picture.

That great print brand you love so much, that gives you a reason to get up in the morning, is doomed. It’s sad. At times, you may be tempted to start drinking too much and gorging on greasy foods. Work out instead. You’ll want to look good and have a well-oxygenated brain if you plan on competing with all those whipsmart technogeeks in the world of “branded multi-platform digital content distribution.” And if that’s not your goal, working out now will help even more later. Truth is, your quirky sense of humour will only take you so far when you’re trying to find a new entry level position in whatever dynamic, growth-oriented industry you try to get into next. And trust me, after you lose that last 15 lbs and get a new haircut, you really will look and feel so much better.
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Published on October 17, 2011 08:44 • 699 views • Tags: advice, books, career-advice, debut-novel, ebooks, how-to, humor, humour, ipad, magazines, newspapers, novel, print, publishing, satire, social-media, the-office
Here's some great news for fiction lovers: According to no less a source than the Harvard Business Review, you're also developing vital skills for business.

A new HBR blog article by Anne Kreamer entitled "The Business Case for Reading Novels" explains:

"Over the past decade, academic researchers... have gathered data indicating that fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness. For instance, in fMRI studies of people reading fiction, neuroscientists detect activity in the pre-frontal cortex — a part of the brain involved with setting goals — when the participants read about characters setting a new goal."

One of the books recommended for those looking to succeed in business is a personal favorite of mine, Something Happened by Joseph Heller.

As Kreamer puts it: "Heller's stream of consciousness second novel follows a regular-joe middle manager as he prepares for a promotion. The messy interweaving of his thoughts about his job, family, sex, and childhood perfectly distill how complicated the selves we bring to work really are."

Here's a link to the full HBR article:

If you're interested in further reading (and especially if you're interested in finding another novel that messily interweaves thoughts of job, family and sex), here's what I told Goodreads in 2010 about the ways in which Heller's Something Happened influenced my own novel Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch. (My personal connection to the novel was reinforced when I joined Time Magazine as a promotion writer in 1992 and was told I was doing Heller's old job.)

Happy reading. And don't forget: Next time you finish a novel that really stimulated your mind, it may be the exact right time to ask your boss for a raise.
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Stephanie Campisi who runs the Australian literary website Read In a Single Sitting was one of the first people to review "Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch" back in 2010.

When she asked to interview me for her site recently, I was more than happy to oblige, especially as her questions gave me the chance to talk about the writing of "Russell Wiley," the future of newspapers, politics, social media and my attempts to be less annoying:

Thanks, Stephanie!
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Published on April 03, 2012 08:57 • 316 views • Tags: authors, books, debut-novel, e-books, fiction, humor, interviews, new-york-city, newspapers, politics, publishing, satire, social-media, the-office
It's been a big Christmas for Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch!

My novel is now out in audiobook with a great reading by Aaron Abano. It's available on MP3 CD and as an Audible download (here's the US link):

Plus, in the UK, Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch has just been added to the "12 Days of Kindle" sale. It's only 99p for a limited time.

Best wishes for the holiday season -- and happy reading in 2013.
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