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Why every communications team needs a journalist in their ranks

By Alistair Wilkinson, Founder of The Media Room

OK, I know journalists rank near or at the bottom of all those surveys about professionals we trust. But I'm very proud of my training in news. That's why I want to set out the case for hiring someone with experience in journalism to help develop your communications plan.
Journalists are great at telling stories with facts
All good journalists start off life as committed storytellers. You can't go far in the business without a natural curiosity and a love of sharing what you learn with others.
What the craft teaches you is an ability to gather facts and organise them in a compelling way that connects with an audience.
Journalists understand what engages audiences. Journalists know how to bring even the most dry subject to life and make messages relevant to real people's lives. 
Journalists are great at strategy
Telling a good factual story is an exercise in strategy. Journalists have it in their DNA to plan and organise, while retaining the flexibility to change course when the agenda shifts.
I can't tell you the number of times I, as a TV journalist working towards a 6pm deadline, had to throw out my day's work at 5pm to start on a new assignment. When that happened, my colleagues would rally to develop a new strategy to get the story to air.
Journalists are fast
Have you ever spent time in a newsroom? When a big story is breaking, a good news centre has a kind of nervous, creative, crazy energy that I've not seen replicated anywhere else. Brilliant things happen when that energy is present. Credible (and incredible) stories are told.
Journalists have the ability to turn around stories at the kind of pace that you need in the internet age. If you're worried your communications team is not picking up stories and running with them in the moment, add a journalist to the mix.
Journalists are flexible
Newsrooms have always been tough places to work. The hours are crazy. Lots of early starts, late finishes, double shifts and weekend work. That's why journalists often hang out together.
What that means is that you can rely on a good journalist not to clock off until the story is told. And, in this age of the ever-accelerating news cycle, that is a crucial attitude to have.
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