What crime reporting taught me about creativity

The best way to learn to how to be creative is to do other things first. Like journalism and crime reporting, for example.

The best way to learn to how to be creative is to do other things first. Like journalism and crime reporting, for example.

A lot of my skills as a creative consultant come from the six years I spent working as a journalist.

I’ve covered topics ranging from haute couture to homicide, and interviewed a lot of noteworthy characters. California’s alcohol-sodden City Council candidates and Hong Kong’s youngest tycoons are just two from a long list.

Everyone used flip phones on 3G networks in those days, and Facebook was only for connecting with friends and family.

Despite spending years in an industry perceived to be “just the facts”, I’ve gained more creative skills than I ever expected.

Here’s the scoop

  • Make people care. Do your homework. Understand your subject, your audience, and what connects them. I spent countless hours on the phone with neighbourhood cops and even longer googling to find those connections. Thankfully, there are loads of tools at your disposal that will help you glean those insights in the blink of a “Like”.
  • Get your hands dirty. As someone who’s scaled chickenwire fences under dodgy highway flyovers; laid on my belly in the middle of a crowded train station; and ran around a rainy public park holding an umbrella over my cameraman to “get the shot”, I can say with full confidence that creating outstanding work takes commitment. That means getting out of your comfort zone.
  • Master the rules. Then change them. I spent a big chunk of change learning to film and edit video on tapes. It took me two years to perfect my “broadcast voice”. Everyone knew blogs would never be considered credible sources.  Now my 16-year-old sister shoots and cuts YouTube tutorials from her bedroom, voiceovers are viewed as outdated, and bloggers rake it in for their status as “influencers”. Sometimes, the most creative ideas go against everything you know. Those are the ones that change the game.

I closed the journalism chapter of my career long ago, but I’ve only scratched the surface in terms of content creation.

It’s such an exciting time to work in this field because it’s evolved so much and will continue to do so.

What does the future look like?

Use your imagination. Let’s shape it together.

Want to learn more about our creative services? Get in touch.

Share this