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Call it what you will, journalists should develop their brands

One way to know you’re getting older: When you hear the word “branding” and cattle come to mind. But if you’re at all plugged in, you know that today the word is typically used to refer to a product’s – and now a person’s – identity. Who you are. What you’re known for. Your uniqueness. What one writer called your “digital footprint.” Some of the more traditional journalists still shy away from “branding” as applied to individual reporters – they see it as a concept that applies to cereal or soap, not journalists. But actually, many journalists have been branded for years, though they never thought of it in those terms. One reporter might be known as the go-to guy for public records and making sense of data in a way that related to readers. Another might be a word-person – her prose full of voice and the type of writing that made you want to read sentences out loud. But it’s more than that, and this is why you need to read Steve Buttry’s blogpost (Steve is also a consultant to TCCJ). This article will help you think through what your brand is, and what you can make it. And as an added bonus, at the end of the post he also refers you to a number of other postings that will help you to develop your personal brand. This is a must-read, especially for younger journalists.

By Kathryn Jones Malone

Kathryn Jones Malone is co-director of the Texas Center for Community Journalism. She began her career as a staff writer at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, then worked as a staff writer for the Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News; as a contract writer for The New York Times; as a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly magazine; as editor of the Glen Rose Reporter; and as a freelance writer for numerous state, regional and national magazines. She teaches journalism at Tarleton State University.