5 Ways CEOs and Journalists are the SAME

Here’s the truth: journalists and entrepreneurs have more in common than not. And this is why they have such difficult relationships in many instances. If you understand how media professionals and CEOs are a like though, you can probably make life easier on yourself—and you might just get a better story out of it.

Creative, current & confrontational… just to start

I was looking at one of my cover stories for the lifestyle rag The San Antonio Current—a real blast from the past—when this insight came to me.

There I was then, my early-20-something self, getting seriously under the covers of the San Antonio Symphony’s financial crisis for the weekly metro lifestyle paper (you know, the one with club listings and crazy personals, and the best read paper in San Antonio at the time). It reminded me I used to be a journalist. And of course, I knew a lot of journalists then. It reminded me I climbed the ranks and became a managing editor. And then….I became an entrepreneur. It didn’t feel like a transition. It felt like the further refinement of a mission.

So based on years (okay, decades) of mining stories on both sides of the entrepreneurial journal, both in public relations and in journalism, here’s my short but critical list of some of the many points of view that entrepreneurs and journalists share:

1)   The desire to change the world, personally

2)   Skeptism about anyone’s opinions outside of their own about how to do that

3)   Boundless curiosity about almost everything

4)   Above-average communications skills

5)   An oblique eye—meaning the journalist and the entrepreneur is always seeing the world through a slightly different angle than everyone else

Strong personalities: passion or poison?

The fact is, these aligned world views often exist in a bit of isolation. Journalists and entrepreneurs aren’t exactly lonely souls because their cause is fulfilling in itself, but they are lone rangers in their worlds. So when you get the entrepreneur + journalist on a collision course, you can get strong personality poisoning—or passion.

I’m hoping that understanding more about the almost infinite common ground between today’s top media professionals and today’s top CEOs will create better understanding and maybe even a few winks in that next “hot seat” in front of those bright studio lights. You’re both my favorite type of people—telling the stories and creating the structures that make this world a better place for everyone. If we all realize the other is trying to help, in their own way, the opportunities to renew the world are so much stronger.

What’s your take? Got any favorite CEO/media stories to share?