My writing career began in 1982 in Montreal, at CKGM and CHOM where I turned out ad copy for Maisonneuve Broadcasting’s AM and FM radio stations. Concerts, Greek restaurants, jeans, groceries—hundreds of 30-second pitches for all things consumer retail.
Returning to Vancouver in 1986, I found my way into the newsletter and magazine publishing business, before embarking on a freelance writing career. From 1990 to 2015 I took on a few full-time editorial and corporate communications postings, but most of the time I have continued to work mainly as a freelancer.
Between 1990 and today, the demands of writing and publishing have changed—largely shaped by the transcendence of the Internet to the world’s predominant media channel. Nowadays a writer must be fluent in keywords and SEO, understand blog and social media and how to write for websites, the nature of the news non-cycle, and the growth of mobile and the 140-character story to be effective across a range of constantly converging media.
I was one of those writers who embraced the Internet and digital media quite early, around 1990, when recession crushed the publishing industry and vaporized scores of newspapers and magazines in Canada. The economics of publishing transmogrified as fast as the technology evolved. There was no choice but to go along for the rocket ride. So it was that I gained a foundation in traditional media, and a vast amount of experience in digital, online media.
Irrespective of technology, the fundamentals of good communications endure—whether in print, or online; in written word or visual media. These days, a competent communicator must be proficient in new and innovative ways, all the while relying on a strong foundation of outstanding skills and talent.
Blake Desaulniers is the British Columbia Regional Director for the Professional Writers Association of Canada and a member of the Editors Association of Canada