You Need to Be a Brand

And so much more.

A spat over whether journalists should be brands unto themselves has relevance for writers of fiction.

Last week, high-profile online culture journalist Taylor Lorenz ruffled feathers when she said cultivating a personal brand was an essential task for media industry aspirants. Old-guard writers expressed their dismay at what’s a banal take for anyone who isn’t a third-generation New York Times editor. Elizabeth Spiers cataloged the entire conflict in an excellent Medium post. Spiers reached a salient conclusion:

For normie journos, making sure you have a brand outside of your institution isn’t a matter of vanity, it’s a matter of practicality. The media industry is more volatile than it’s ever been, and job hopping is less about boredom and fickleness, than it is about waves of layoffs, the inability to secure raises high enough to meet cost-of-living requirements without switching jobs, and changing job requirements that add responsibilities without pay. There’s a reason why unionization is increasingly common at media outlets. These are not things the tenured class worries about.

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