Thursday, August 06, 2009

Is a journalist a brand?

So, what’s with the logo? I’m glad you asked.

A Twitter friend says it makes me look “corporate,” which I don’t think she meant as a compliment. It’s definitely a high-class design, done by my pal Peter Dunlap-Shohl in Anchorage. But it isn’t intended to signal a move back to the executive suites.

Instead, it’s part of an experiment on my part. Thinking about the notion that individual journalists are (and need to be) now brands in themselves, I wanted to use a striking logo to identify my work across many platforms. Instead of using cute photos or the avatar-de-jour on Twitter and Facebook, I will use the same logo on both – and on the two blogs where I regularly comment, and on my business cards (when I get some) and my email signature (when I can figure out the html for that).

It’s been seven months since I left my job as VP/News at McClatchy, and I’m involved in a number of different projects. I am writing fiction, serving on the Publish2 board and advising them, doing video columns/stories with a small Sacramento company, maintaining (kind of) two blogs and Tweeting actively. I just accepted the assignment of writing an occasional column explaining American politics and culture to Canadians in a small new newspaper there.

All these things are just me, the iteration I’m calling Howard 3.2 at the moment. I figure the first phase was all those wonderful years of newspaper journalism in Alaska; 2.0 was Sacramento, both at The Bee and in corporate. 3.0 started when I left the nest, and continues to iterate.

Meanwhile, the logo abides.


  1. My thoughts on personal branding:

  2. Anonymous4:03 AM

    Howard, I like it. Wonder if you have had any time yet to look into my screening versus reading blogsite, in which I offer the idea that reading on screens is not only vastly different from reading on paper, and in many ways inferior, in terms of mental processing and critical analysis, not to mention retainability and that old Alaska fishwrapper favorite, foldability -- ! -- I used to put out the Capital City Weekly; in fact, I named it that name, before it was the Juneau Nickel -- so Howard, what's your take on reading on paper and reading on screens like this one, and most importantly, do we or could we use a new word for this post-paper kind of reading? I have called it "screening" and have received letters from Kevin Kelly in SF and Marvin Minsky at MIT saying "yes yes yes" or something to that effect. See my blog, Howard, on all this, at zippy1300, and respond already, man, it's been three months since you first said "Okay, I will look into this, Danny."

    Other than that, love the logo. I remember Peter. He's the ADN's political cartoonist, right? Great stuff.

  3. I'm with DigiDave. When people start calling you by your blog name (even your friends) or your handle, you've created 'yourself' online. Whether that gets you much further than that is up to you (in my case, not so much).