By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)
Tara Parker-Pope is a well-known health reporter with over a decade at the Wall Street Journal and more recently reporting for the New York Times, founding its Well Blog three years ago.
The particularly interesting thing about her body of work is that its become increasingly personal. Shes continued to cover health and wellness, but more and more from her own point of view, with reference to her familys health conditions or her own interests, such as marathon running.
While this might have been frowned upon at the beginning of her career, two things have changed in that time.
The first is her personal expertise. She has spent enough years proving her intellectual prowess and journalistic credibility to make personal digressions much more accepted.
The other, though, is the change in the times. Objective reporting is still valued, but audiences increasingly appreciate a clear description of the personal motivations that lead someone to cover a particular story. The changes in how she has chosen to cover news reflect that.
Another pharma blogger displayed this personal slant recently. John Mack, proprietor of the Pharma Marketing Blog, chose to discuss his own weight loss on his blog. The reaction by commenters and Tweeters was quiet – it was, after all, a holiday weekend – but positive.
So we revert to a common theme here at the Pixels and Pills blog. Are you simply observing whats going on in the industry around you and trying to stay well-read? Or are you taking the next step, looking critically at the information youre getting to see what you can learn? What can you take from the news to improve your own work?
Here we see an increase in personal disclosure – professional and relevant, but personal nonetheless. It seems to be working for these individuals. Have you tried it yourself?
Do your colleagues and the people who report to you know anything about you? Do your clients? You may want to step back and look at how you separate your personal life from your work life. Im not suggesting any particular level of disclosure – its a very individual decision – but make sure yours is where youd like it to be.
Could you bring your personal interest into your work any more? Your personal interests may not be so unrelated to work, after all. Consider that if they matter to you, they probably matter to a great many other people, too. Do you have some really specific expertise that you havent been using?
Those are two suggestions – but heres a third, slightly different: notice that consummate blogger John Mack has been focusing on his eating habits and exercise frequency. World-class reporter Tara Parker-Pope has trained for and run a marathon. Kind of makes your “but Im too busy excuses ring a little hollow, doesnt it? Just a reminder. The most successful people in our industry do have personal lives outside of work. Dont forget to have one too.