Saturday, September 19, 2015

Newspaper know-how working for you

Last week, I went to a “Nuts & Bolts” session at the San Diego Press Club’s offices above the Spreckels Theater, downtown. The panel was discussing how to reinvent yourself after journalism. The chair quoted some eminent journalist who had said, “If a journalist hasn’t been fired three times, don’t trust them.”

Actually, most of the distinguished panelists hadn’t even been fired once. They were councilmember Marti Emerald, Ron James (owner and publisher of the Wind, Dine & Travel magazine,  the novelist Roger Conlee and Luis Monteagudo, who is County Supervisor Greg Cox’s public relations writer.

I didn’t go nuts and I didn’t bolt, because I’m especially focused on reinventing myself, right now. I’ve moved all my books and papers into an actual office space and hung up my shingle for BYRONIK.COM “Newspaper know-how working for you.” “Newspaper know-how working for you?” What does that mean? I was asked this, at least once, when I handed out my homemade business cards at the Press Club seminar. Well, it means just about anything you want it to mean.

The phrase came to me when I was attending a free marketing course on behalf of a rich client with whom I was supposed to be writing a book about in vitro fertilization. My new office has one window, which looks out into a stuffy indoor corridor, to which every other office’s air conditioning pumps constant hot air. For privacy, the previous tenant had blocked the window with an old paper blind and, for security, had screwed boards across the window frame. I took all that down and cleaned the glass. Then I created a large poster that says, “BYRONIK.COM Newspaper know-how working for you Proprietor: Michael C. Burgess (619) 606-5697.”

The only way I could print this vast red, white and blue poster for less than $100 was to build it in Photoshop and print it in tiles on letter-sized paper. It took me the best part of the night to cut off all the white edges and paste the damned thing together.

But what does it mean? What would you like it to mean? It might mean I have the ability do design and print such an outlandish piece of promotional material for any business you might be involved in. It might mean I’m inviting passers by to pop their head in my open door, sit down and tell me their story, for a possible freelance item. It might even mean I’ll start blogging about downtown activities until I find a way to make a living here.

I don’t know. What did I expect? Maybe my film noir fantasy led me to believe a femme fatale would saunter into my office to give me that up-from-under look and then ask me to go with her to some foggy bluff and exchange her bag of cash for some stolen emeralds. Today, that didn’t happen.

I was smoking a cheap cigar, this morning outside the street entrance when I saw what looked like a formula-one racing car slowly drive along C Street, on the side of the road reserved for the San Diego trolley. I was drinking coffee in my office when a man poked his head round my door and asked me where he could find Quick Fix, the phone and laptop repair shop, “Back out the way you came and turn right after the glass door.”

I don’t know. I’m reinventing myself.

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