I provide a myriad of research, reporting, wrtiting, production and consulting services either directly myself or by pulling together a team of like minded and experienced professionals who are expert sin their field whether it’s web design and development, camera work, editing, design or printing.
Journalism: I’ve been a journalist for some 38 or more years and my work has been published in The Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun (where I worked for 23 years), the Globe and Mail, The National Post, Reader’s Digest, Canadian Business, Profit Magazine, Zoomer Magazine, Maclean’s, Backbone Magazines, Connections Plus Magazine and a few other’s I’ve probably forgotten over the last decade or so of freelancing. I also write for trade and professional sector publications like the Daily Commercial News, The Law Times and The Bottom Line.
If you’re an editor and looking to add some seasoned journalists to your roster, just email me.
Ghostwriting, editing biographies: Many clients come to be because they have a story to tell but aren’t sure how to proceed. They’ve been successful in their careers and proud of their accomplishments while others are companies looking to tell their story about it all started with Grandad’s one bay garage and a great idea back in the 1930s.
That’s where I come in. I either write the manuscript from scratch based on interviews and background documents following an agreed chapter outline or I can take an existing manuscript and polish it, adding historical facts, details, colour, even interviewing other people about their memories of events and sharing common stories.
I then arrange for the manuscript to be proof read, organize images, dig up illustrations, scanning in family pictures from photo albums, tracking down archival pictures from public and private sources and compling them as resources.
Then, I either work on the design and layout of the book, helping the client choose the size, the type of paper stock, the font and the style or I find and work with an Art Director to provide those services if the client wants something more spectacular and has budget.
Finally, I help source a printer, either locally or through an online service and arrange for the digital files to be delivered for printing.
Got a book in mind? Email me.
Content Marketing Strategies and Campaigns: Behind every sale is a great story. I help you tell your story to your customers and potential customers. I work with a great digital marketing team which provides a soup to nuts service. From creating and hosting the technology platform to creating content, identifying leads, email campaigns and building virtual communities.
We work in real estate, data analytics, education and government.
I’m the storyteller; they’re the computer and marketing whizes.
Call me or email me. I’ll introduce you to some of the coolest folks I’ve ever worked with.
Media Relations: From time to time I assist Public Relations agencies with projects. If I work on a client’s file I will never write about the client as a journalist. It’s about as close to the line as I can come without crossing it and still earn a living because journalism is struggling and my media expertise is too valuable an asset to leave on the shelf.
My skills are often called on to tease out a client’s best story angle to curry interest among targeted media. I also can build that targeted contact list of editors and writers, write and shape the story and finally, distribute it directly rather than use CNW or a list service which are expensive and largely ineffective.
Finally, from time to time I also chase those email and follow up with calls and set up interviews with the client. In 38 years of being on the otherside of pitches, I’m pretty adept at honing effective pitches from this side of the fence.
Just don’t ask me to pitch and write about a client. Email me for more details.
Media Training: How do you deal with the media when they come banging on your door at 3 a.m.? How to you cultivate a working relationship with the media? Yes, as I like to say, dealing with the media is like herding pitbulls but it can be done and if you follow some basic guidelines, it’s fun, profitable and you won’t get bitten.
I offer a one day seminar for invdividuals or groups of people which covers the basics of media training, from how to set up your protocol, how to follow that protocol in the event of an incident or just the random nature of a call for comment right through to dealing with factual errors, how to handle yourself in an interview to the follow up after the fact.
It’s nothing too strenuous, just some role playing games, some basic do’s and don’ts and then an on camera interview which we’ll review and critique afterwards.
We will also look at Social Media and Web communication strategies. Email me for more details.
Crisis Communications: This is another one day seminar which steps up the basics from Media Training 101, reviews those basics and then looks at crisis communications planning – with an emphasis on the planning part. You can’ plan for a disaster but you can plan your response.
A crisis communications plan should be part of your Business Disaster Plan. If it isn’t, you need to come talk to me.
We’ll look at some case studies what worked, what didn’t, why it didn’t work and how you can avoid repeating the error or how you can use a technique or strategy for your own plan. Email me for more details.
Corporate Communications: Got a report needs translating into English, from, er, English? White Paper needs some editing? Annual report which needs a little TLC or a company wide e-newsletter, email or website which could use a little spice? I’m your guy. Email me for more details.
Research: Being a journalist entails research obviously and it’s something I also do for corporate clients, especially PR agencies. I offer a quick turn around on must-have backgrounders on issues and people and media audits. I’ll identify the key conflicts, the organizations on either side of the issue, the movers and shakers in those groups and what the political lay of the land looks like.
Video: I plan, script and can shoot and edit video for a quick turn around. Email me for more details.
Private Seminars: Want to improve internal communications at your office? Cut down the emails? Put an end to Death by PowerPoint? I can help.
I offer a couple of one day or half day seminars on how to improve your communication, presentation and writing skills.
Storytelling 101, for example, looks at how we tell stories and how important headlines are in communication. I walk the group through the basics of storytelling in a fun, light-hearted and interactive session and show them how to apply the lessons to their everyday emails, report writing and meeting presentations. We’ll clear the clutter, get to the essence of the story and learn how to turn those numbers into a headline everyone around the table will instantly grasp.
Editing 101: This is a more technical seminar on how to clear the clutter out your writing. We’ll zero in on the flotsam and jetsam which seem to float around in your writing and learn how to zap them out during the editing process.
You’ll learn, for example, why “that” is almost always a superfluous word and why you can get rid of it 99 per cent of the time.
We’ll also look at condensing and summarizing reports and presentations to make your salient points jump out.
Finally, we’ll also learn how to edit, how to “cut something in half and not lose a word,” as the old school journalism expression has it.
These seminars are for people who are otherwise brilliant at their jobs but struggle with clear, concise communications. Email me for more details.
Public Speaking: One of my more recent diversifications is to offer speeches and presentations which summarize some of the more interesting learnings I’ve gleaned while researching, writing and interviewing people. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some top keynote speakers, read their books and interviewed them while also developing many feature stories of my own during my career. It’s been a real education and I’d love to share it.
Lessons From A Dying Industry: The demise of newspapers is your survival guide
Understanding Media: How the media works and what you can do to harness it
Smart Cities: Is your business ready for the Internet of Everything?
Contact me for more details on how any of these services could be useful or entertaining for you or your organization.