Cultivating a strong personal brand provides security in a very unstable business. Jobs may come and go, but the readers and collaborators who have come to know your particular personality and way of approaching stories will follow you wherever you’re published. Of course, telling the truth has to be a part of that brand if you want to keep calling yourself a journalist. As John McQuaid wrote in the wake of the Jonah Lehrer plagiarism scandal, “Lehrer is more than just a journalist or even a bestselling author. He is a brand unto himself. And his fall shows what can happen when the personal brand supersedes everything else, including the drab scutwork of journalism.” Just don’t get too crazy-egotistical about it and you’ll be fine.


Ann Friedman is a magazine editor who loves the internet. She lives in Los Angeles