Writing, photography, content creation & communications

Posts tagged “journalism

Workshop: Create Your Post-media Success

Journalists, photographers, researchers and sub-editors who have been made redundant, retired or otherwise farewelled from a media outlet can learn how to re-establish themselves at a workshop at Parramatta RSL Club on Friday, August 24.

Through practical exercises, Create Your Post-media Success will help participants understand the fundamentals of business, discover the numerous career options available in a changing landscape and pinpoint their focus.

Deep Hill Media photojournalist David Hill

They will leave with practical tools such as a simple business plan, a required income calculation and a rates card tailored to their needs.

Participants will also learn where to find commercial clients and freelance story leads, how to pitch PR leads and editorial articles to media and where to find further ongoing support, training and resources.

The full-day Create Your Post-media Success workshop will be presented by Deep Hill Media, the Blue Mountains-based communications consultancy and freelance journalism business of photojournalist David and journalist Ellen Hill.

“We know exactly what our colleagues are going through because we’ve been through it ourselves – and we’ll be sharing honest, sometimes excruciating anecdotes of our mistakes and achievements along the way,’’ Mrs Hill said.

Deep Hill Media communications consultant & journalist Ellen Hill

After taking voluntary redundancy from a multinational media company in 2009, the couple banked a small fortune; self-published a book; sold fine art prints, books and natural laundry products at market stalls; and mowed lawns while chasing ever-elusive business rainbows.

In the process, they have been hurt, burnt, humiliated, ripped off and faced poverty too many times to count.

“We want to help others leapfrog years of mistakes, heartache and financial ruin,’’ Mrs Hill said.

“We also want to help preserve an industry many have said is dying.

“Journalism and media is not dying.

“It is merely adapting and we want to help shape the future that was – and is – our life.

“Society and culture needs the skills and experience our colleagues have, but to continue working in their field may require a little creative thinking.’’

The Create Your Post-media Success workshop will be held at Parramatta RSL Club from 9am to 5pm on Friday, August 24. Cost: $347 includes lunch, morning/afternoon tea and resources. Bookings essential: Click HERE.

The power of positivity

UNEXPECTEDLY finding ourselves in the world of PR and having to adopt a customer service attitude and wear a permanent smile was an exhausting chore at first.

Then about two years after “going to the dark side’’, we made a surprising realisation: forced positivity had actually made us more positive people.

Don’t get me wrong, comments like “the partner did it’’ and bet he jumped before he was pushed’’ still pepper news bulletins in our household, my handbag is clutched to my chest in public and I take a mental note of the exact time every time I see something odd in case the police need that information later. Healthy cynicism is important.

Too many bad things do happen everywhere around us, but the world really is a wonderful place filled with myriad interesting, generous and loving people.

Here’s some behaviours that make all the difference to your relationships whether you’re a journalist or PR:


I have always told my teenage son that he would never be noticed for his good manners and courtesy but he’d be memorable if he was ill-mannered and rude. I was wrong.

Well-mannered, respectful and charming, he has just started his first job. His recruitment manager told me he was chosen above dozens of others because of his charm and courtesy. In fact, he has also been offered jobs by the owner of a trendy restaurant and the GM of a five-star hotel purely on those attributes.


You may not answer the phone every time, but responding to phone, email and business-related social media messages promptly could mean the difference between a journalist or a PR making you their “go to’’ person and ringing your competitor.


Clients and media come to us because they know we will deliver what we promise, when we promise and how we promise.

Ending a conversation or email with Not a problem’’, ``Of course’’,  “Sure’’ or ``Will do’’ shows you are reliable, which will help cement your relationship and prospect of future work.

Coming up with solutions rather than problems will not only make you a more likeable person but boost your KPI achievements and outcomes.


I usually wrap up a media or a client correspondence with “Please let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with’’. Most of the time there is nothing further to do.

However sometimes, a few minutes later you might get an Actually, you wouldn’t have a picture of such-and-such, would you?’’ orI was going to ask next week, but while we’re emailing, could you write me a media release to go with my ad?’’. Win/win.

Making a quick phone call to inquire about an advertising package, sharing a social media post, putting a client forward for an interview with a journalist or shooting off a blurb for a client’s LinkedIn profile linking to your media release on their website is added value for them and kudos to you.


Don’t burn your bridges.

Remember when you switched radio stations jobs 15 years ago, only to discover the idiot producer you used to work with was now the executive producer?

The same happens in the PR world. Nightmare scenario: you phone a newsroom, only for an unmentionable from your past to answer the phone and you’ve got to convince her to carry your client’s story.


Think of smiling as a work out for your face.

Smiling when a difficult client or journalist is being prickly can actually feel satisfying. Besides, you know how they feel and would have done the same back in the day.

Do you agree? Can you add to this list?

  • Ellen and David Hill worked in traditional print media for 20 and 30 years respectively. In 2012 they unexpectedly found themselves “on the dark side” in PR. Today, they run a communications consultancy. When not crafting communications for high-end clients, they traipse the country in search of stories, usually in a grubby hatchback piled to the ceiling with gear, a lanky teenager and, sometimes, a pampered pet rabbit called Sophie.

Positive surprises on “the dark side” in PR

FIVE years after unexpectedly finding ourselves “on the dark side’’ in PR, we have discovered it’s not that bad after all.

That’s possibly because the media landscape has shifted so much that “the dark side’’ is now filled with our own kind and it is more acceptable for the likes of us to juggle both worlds and continue to produce journalism as well as commercial content.

Here’s a few positive surprises we have discovered:


I’m ashamed to admit that most journalists have treated me with more pleasant professionalism than I gave to PR contacts while working solely in a newsroom.

They recognise the credibility of my information, my industry knowledge, calibre of clients, quality of the release and have come to expect editorial-style images as standard.


Well, kind of. We still write and shoot genuinely newsworthy and interesting stories and try very hard to ensure the stories we tell are fair and accurate. It’s just that someone else is paying us.

However, we cannot deny the bias and interests that arises with who is paying when we generate PR.


The publisher of a local industry magazine once complained that my articles’’ wereverbose, self-serving diatribes’’. Well yes, that’s what my clients pay me to do. She was bewildered when told it was actually her job to pick through my media releases for information and story angles of interest to her readers and get the other side of the story before running the piece she wanted. The publisher, who had never been a journalist, believed that media releases were ready-made stories for her to fill her magazine with.

Armed with knowledge of the current media landscape, we do often now write media releases as completed stories, leaving no unanswered questions for sparsely populated newsrooms and inexperienced tree-changers. They are regularly published without change.

Therefore, as PR, we can choose to submit a traditional media release or a completed story depending on the occasion yet are never obliged to provide balance.


In the past few years I have created new words and phrases, changed a client’s vocabulary, taken on several vastly different personas, made moral and political points and berated senior politicians under Parliamentary privilege – all under the guise of others.

Anyone who has met me knows that really I am more than a bit shy, not that verbally articulate and certainly not confrontational. So it is a privilege and a joy to step outside myself and be someone else when writing quotes for a media release or a speech.

Do you agree? Can you add to this list?

* Ellen and David Hill worked in traditional print media for 20 and 30 years respectively. In 2012 they unexpectedly found themselves “on the dark side” in PR. Today, they run a communications consultancy. When not crafting communications for high-end clients, they traipse the country in search of stories, usually in a grubby hatchback piled to the ceiling with gear, a lanky teenager and, sometimes, a pampered pet rabbit called Sophie.