News Rituals of a Communicator

FotorCreated_CL News

Should you check your smartphone the minute you wake up?

As a communicator, absolutely.

And while it’s not a good life hack for most people, as a communications leader my smartphone is on my nightstand every night. The ringtone is on for calls, and sounds are off for everything else.

This is because crises don’t confine themselves to business hours (whatever those may be these days). As communicators we have to be available 24/7 if needed. And I’m happy to say the unexpected calls are very few and far between.

When I wake up in the morning, there’s a 15-minute ritual I follow.

First I tell my new Fitbit I’m awake. And see how many restless minutes get subtracted from my total sleep time. It’s been disappointing to realize I have to spend more than 7 hours in bed to get “full credit” for those hours.

Then I see what texts and emails have come in. Just a quick scan to ensure nothing’s urgent. Otherwise, no email processing first thing in the morning.

Anthony Martini on my team at DIRECTV inspired a great habit of setting Google alerts via email – for our company, key people and other timely topics.

Then it’s on to the headlines.

First I’ll look at top stories in The Wall Street Journal, and the Business, Tech, Markets and Life & Culture sections after that. (Being in the entertainment business, I look forward to the episode recaps of my favorite TV shows.) It’s valuable to observe how various reporters are covering different topics in the news.

Then onto The New York TimesI love the Your Daily Briefing every weekday with a roundup of key headlines. If I only have 60 seconds to scan the news, this is perfect. Then on to Most Emailed (for what’s trending and resonating), Business and Technology. I’ll look at Sports, too, if I’ve missed big games over the weekend.

After that I check out my Twitter feed to see what’s happening. I’ll peek at a few of the DIRECTV feeds, like @DIRECTV, @DIRECTVSchools, @DIRECTVCareers and @DTVBlimp.

And I’ll look for an interesting story from the headlines or from DIRECTV to tweet about @caroline_leach. My topics are #corpcomms #change #leadership and #CSR. And our CSR hashtag, #DIRECTVgivesback. Opinions are my own.

It was encouraging to learn that WSJ, NYT and Twitter are the top 3 “daily ‘must-reads'” of global CCOs (chief communications officers), according to SpencerStuart‘s CCO V report focusing on the changing media environment.

As the day goes on, I check out blog posts on @HarvardBiz, for quick tips and insights on strategy, leadership, comms and more.

My office TV – a great perk of working at DIRECTV – bounces around between various news channels and DIRECTV’s Audience Network. I especially love seeing our headquarters campus and colleagues in the background shots of The Rich Eisen Show.

On evenings and weekends I’ll catch up on longer-form reading with a variety of books and magazines. Whether I’m working out on the treadmill or waiting in line somewhere, I have something to read on my phone or tablet.

My relevant screen shots are in the opening photo, not including my books and blogs. I try to read from a wide variety of sources. I’m fascinated by a diversity of viewpoints and the themes and patterns that run across many outlets.

Our household went 100% digital with our news three years ago, so it’s all on our smartphones and tablets. No more waiting for printed papers to arrive with the cold morning air, encased in plastic and creating recycling bulk that has to be hauled outside to the appropriate bin.

We still get plenty of printed magazines on a wide variety of topics. As I shared in one of my Who Am I? posts, I’m a bit of a magazine and book addict.

I’d love to hear from you. What other news rituals should I consider?



Published by

Caroline Leach

Hi, I'm Caroline Leach. I help people and organizations tell their stories. I'm a Marketing VP at AT&T, a former Communications VP at DIRECTV and an alum of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This blog, How to Build Your Career through Social Media, shows you how to build your personal brand, advance your career and embrace your future. It helps you promote your employer and your network too. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. I'd love to hear from you!

One thought on “News Rituals of a Communicator”

  1. One of my favorite go-to morning news sources is BBC News for the international headlines. To your point about acknowledging that everyone writes from a different perspective, I find their news to be slightly more politically objective and very well-rounded.

    I also highly recommend investing the full $1.99 in Danielle LaPorte’s “Truthbomb” app. They are short phrases or sentences that almost always resonate with me in some way. Whether it’s a bit of motivation or just something you needed to hear, I’m completely obsessed. Definitely one of the first things I look at in the morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *