I remember the moment that I really felt like a journalist. It was the middle of the night and there was a thunderous knock on my door. I sprang out of bed and the woman was shouting, “Get dressed, we need your help!”.I was at San Diego State University and I was 16 years old. This wasn’t breaking news.
This was an indoctrination into the world of journalism. I had been accepted into a program for high school students that taught us journalism for print, TV, and radio. One member of our team of 20 students was failing to meet the deadline for the newspaper to go to print. So, we all had to go back to the newsroom to help.
I didn’t mind getting woken up in the middle of the night to help file news stories. It was a thrill that years later would become routine for me.
I was hooked. From that point forward I was destined to become a TV journalist to do what I believed was at the heart of every reporter: to help make the world a better place.
By the time I was 20, perseverance, commitment, and dedication helped me land my first on-air news reporting job and later the position as morning TV news anchor in my hometown, San Diego, California. I stayed with the station for nearly 15 years.
In 1999, after the horrific Columbine tragedy, I created an event that became the highlight of my career in TV News. The event was called 10Leadership Day–a resource festival for our viewers aimed at serving their needs by bringing valuable resources to them on one day and at one location, Qualcomm Stadium.
The annual event became very popular with our station's viewers. It attracted 20,000 people by year four, generated more than $120,000, and became the largest festival of its kind in California.
I hosted a live TV News program from the event and our reporters told positive stories about a community getting its needs met from a TV News station that cared. For once, the media was doing more than just reporting tragedies; it was solving community issues.
I was proud to work on a project that impacted tens of thousands of lives.
That one event became the catalyst and entrepreneurial path that has led me to my career today.
I recognized that the companies that were solving problems for the community were sharing their powerful stories on the news but in a way that captured the viewers' attention.
These companies weren't talking about their products and services to try to make a sale. Instead, they were doing things that served the community and that's what made their stories compelling.
The stories we told, even though they were about brands, weren't advertisements. They were tales about real people and problems and the solutions that were found at our festival.
In that moment, I knew brands could reach their target audience, if only they knew the right stories to tell to capture consumer attention, develop relationships with their target audience, and create exposure, and, ultimately, greater ROI.
That's when I set out on a mission to help brands learn to tell their stories.
I’m a multimedia brand journalist (which means I’m never without a camera and I'm always searching for a good story to tell).
I also teach iPhone storytelling to brands to help them empower their sales and marketing teams. The sales people are on the frontline of communication with consumers. Giving them the tools to share powerful and emotional stories is a key way to drive greater brand awareness and sales.
I consult with companies and teach them to BE the media. Gone are the days when corporations had to fight to get their story told. The playing field has been leveled by the Internet and simplified publishing technology.
I'm a Top 50 Podcaster. I host The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast, featuring weekly interviews with thought leaders from around the globe on journalism, branding, marketing, social media, public relations, and entrepreneurship.
The power is in this formula: “EC = MC” or Every Company Equals A Media Company. The way to capture consumer attention is through telling informative and engaging stories.
That's what I do as a brand journalist... and, thankfully, now I do it (mostly) during daylight hours.