The Participation Blog

Use Your Words

One of my refrigerator magnets reads, “Use Your Words.” I got it at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., years ago, before, sadly, it closed for lack of funding. To cite a quote often attributed to Nietzsche, “All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.” Given the current state of U.S. and global politics, social media and the weaponization of propaganda, I expect you’ll agree. The power of words, the difference between an “ok” one, and the exactly “right” one, and how we use them is extraordinary.On the subject of news, journalism and the business of news continue to evolve. As newspapers continue to downsize and fold all over the country, the profession keeps looking for new footing. I’ve spent most of my working career trying to facilitate the divide between reporters on deadline and needing to whittle down ridiculously complex issues into 750 words, and the experts who devote their lives and careers to that complex issue. As the world gets even more complex, attention spans get even shorter.The most recent word of the year, according to Merriam-Webster, speaks to the power of what lives behind those words and something that a lot of people tend to struggle with when they’re trying to present and reflect the positions and culture of their organizations and their own experience, education, expertise and persona. We know you’re a pro, but just don’t forget to be real