Why The Information Life Cycle Is Important Today

In the age of fake news and alternative facts, real facts still matter.  The good thing about the internet is that you have access to a wealth of information at the tip of your fingers.  The bad thing about the internet and social media is that we sometimes have a hard time deciphering what is fact or fiction.

I went to this seminar last week on the importance of the information life cycle when looking at events that happen and how to reflect on them as time goes by.  I found it really interesting.

Here it is:
The Day of an Event
Television, Social Media, and the Web

  • The who, what, why, and where of the event
  • Quick, not detailed, regularly updated
  • Authors are journalists, bloggers, social media participants
  • Intended for general audiences

The Day After an Event

  • Explanations and timelines of the event begin to appear
  • More factual information may include statistics, quotes, photographs, and editorial coverage
  • Authors are journalists
  • Intended for general audiences

The Week or Weeks After an Event
Weekly Popular Magazines and New Magazines

  • Long form stories begin to discuss the impact on society, culture, and public policy
  • More detailed analyses, interviews, and various perspectives emerge
  • Authors range from journalists to essayists, and commentary provided by scholars and experts in the field
  • Intended for a general audience or specific non-professional groups

Six Months to a Year or More After an Event
Academic, Scholarly Journals

  • Focused, detailed analysis and theoretical, empirical research
  • Peer-reviewed, ensuring high credibility and accuracy
  • Authors include scholars, researchers, and professionals
  • Intended for an audience of scholars, researchers, and university students

A Year to Years After an Event

  • In-depth coverage ranging from scholarly in-depth analysis to popular books
  • Authors range from scholars to professionals to journalists
  • Include reference books which provide factual information, overviews, and summaries
Government Reports
  • Reports from federal, state, and local governments
  • Authors include governmental panels, organizations, and committees
  • Often focused on public policy, legislation, and statistical analysis

Writing Skills Aren’t Just For Journalism

I was in Washington DC last week to speak on a panel to other working journalists about transferring their writing skills into other professions to increase their income streams. Most of them were either looking to make money on the side or switch careers altogether. I have been lucky to spread my skill sets into many different areas beyond the newsroom over the last decade, including creating content for websites I build, ghostwriting articles for famous people. writing RFPs for major government and NGO contracts and doing research for documentaries.

There are many other areas where someone who knows how to write and edit copy concisely and on deadline is in demand. Below are some areas you may not think of at first, but are looking to hire media professionals.

College Dissertations

Students pursuing doctorate degrees need to submit dissertations before they graduate. Most of them are not the best writers. This is why they hire professional writers and editors to make sense of their final work. I recently helped one doctorate student with the editing process which took about a year to do rewrites and edits. This can be lucrative work for someone looking for a side hustle.

Customer Relations

Since more customer interactions are done online today, many companies hire people with good communication skills who can correspond with customers by email or social media. Companies depend on customer service reps to present their brand by answering questions or complaints in the best light, so there is a return on their investment, as well as returning customers.

Marketing and Sales

As I mentioned above, more business is being done online, and content is king. Companies large and small are hiring writers and editors to create content for websites, social media, newsletters, email campaigns, brochures, flyers, banners, etc. This is basically what my company, Global Wire Associates, does for clients every day. (shameless self-promotion).

Human Resources

Somebody has to know how to write job descriptions in the most effective way to attract the best candidate pool. Larger companies tend to hire in-house copywriters whose sole job is to write job descriptions and internal company policies.

Grant Writing

Nonprofits are always looking for money, so they have to apply for grants on a regular basis. The best-written proposals are the ones that tend to win grants. Smaller nonprofits that don’t have a staff development officer usually need help with grant writing. These organizations don’t pay a lot if they even pay at all for these services, but it could help you gain more skills in this area that could lead to more lucrative job opportunities at larger nonprofits in the future.


I mentioned above that I do ghostwrite sometimes. Companies and well-known people hire professional writers to create compelling content but under their name. I have had a lot of my writing used in large media campaigns and even written articles under the byline of a couple of famous people, but I can’t tell you who because of confidentiality contracts. Nonetheless, this is lucrative work. I will write about this process more in a future post.

Documentary Research

Filmmakers hire researchers to fact-check and analyze information that will be used in a documentary film. This is done to make sure the film is thoughtful and accurate. More filmmakers today are hiring journalists to do this work. You spend a lot of time doing in-person or phone interviews with subjects, doing research at libraries and archives, and reviewing documents, photos and video and taking notes. I recently was hired to do research for a documentary on reproductive and sexual health in West Africa. This is very rewarding and lucrative work. I will also write about this process in a future post.

I am hosting a webinar called “Copywriting for Media Professionals” in the fall which will touch on some of these issues. I don’t have a date and registration set up yet, but if you are interested in participating, email

Journalism in the Post-Truth Era

Today is World Press Freedom Day.  This is an occasion to recognize the risks media professionals take to deliver fair and independent journalism.  Press freedom is more important than ever.  The Trump administration lives in a world of alternative facts and fake news.  Trump and his staff have had their share of gaffes, showing their lack of logic and knowledge of basic history.

Apparently, Trump and his people now just walk away from reporters when they don’t want to answer tough questions.

Journalists have an obligation to report the real facts and question the foolishness coming out of Trump’s mouth and Twitter feed, as well as other unsavory public officials worldwide.

Please support real journalism today by supporting groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders.

Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, speaks about life in the post-truth world and what the media can do about it.

Making Bicycles Even More Eco-Friendly

ghana bamboo bikes

Al Jazeera America announced a few weeks ago that it was shutting down after less than three years in operation.  Despite what many critics might think of the beleaguered cable network,  I think it delivers fine journalism.  The following video is an example of their good reporting.  Since I am an avid cyclist and a development worker, this immediately caught my attention.  It’s a great story about an organization in Ghana that is making bicycles even more eco-friendly by building them with bamboo!  And it is always great to hear a positive story out of Africa.