Vanessa Desloires, Managing Editor, Digital Pulse, PwC Australia discusses making the shift from journalism to corporate communications, and the current challenges for communication professionals.
Tell us what you do?
I co-run Digital Pulse, PwC’s online publication for all things ‘digital transformation and innovation’, which involves editing and publishing, stakeholder communications and – just recently – project managing the publication’s web redesign. I also manage internal communications for part of our consulting community.
As an ex journalist, how have you found the move into corporate communications?
The move into the corporate world from journalism was unexpected but advantageous. I was attracted to PwC as its diverse and interesting perspectives were all in-house, it felt like shooting fish in a barrel for a journo. It took me a long time to adjust my working style from the flow of a daily newspaper and its analysis and factual reporting into storytelling that amplifies the messaging we want to be known for. I still get to enjoy the experience of working with people and telling their stories, why and how they are driven to solve problems with clients and in society more broadly.
When did you join IABC Victoria and why?
I was introduced to IABC by colleagues about a year ago and immediately discovered a community of like-minded professionals from whom I am excited to learn from in terms of industry emerging best practice. I like the global reach of the organisation and you can tell from the submissions and winners of the IABC Gold Quill Awards how highly regarded it is as an organisation.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing communication professionals right now, and in the future?
For me, it’s the pace and amount of communications that are coming out from all angles, across all mediums. It is difficult to know whether more is more or less is more, and how to strike a balance — particularly when it can be hard to measure. Additionally, and I think communicators are getting better at this, acknowledging that speaking plainly and clearly has the biggest cut-through. As a journalist, that is an obsession that will never leave me (all the quips from sub-editors that I will never forget from being a trainee!).
How do you think IABC can help communication professionals overcome these challenges and stay ahead of the game?
Sharing information, and case studies, and understanding what worked and what didn’t, is invaluable, particularly outside of your own organisation.
What advice would you give to journalists who are contemplating a move into comms?
I think it’s a well-trodden path and I’ve no doubt many have successfully made such a move before and will continue to. It can be difficult when you are trained as a journalist to stick to the ‘no fear or favour’ mentality when essentially you are now advocating for the kind of businesses you (may have) once scrutinised. But that is a skill that is also incredibly powerful for sense-checking campaigns or messaging — and harnessing that can benefit the organisation by cutting through noise.