October 20, 2020

Do I really need a business card? | Columns

I have been the editor of the New Albany Gazette for more than a year, and I still do not have a business card.

I’m not sure I need any business cards. I have been getting along without one for so long I am getting kind of used to it.

I have a lot of other people’s business cards on my desk, but I rarely look at them. However, sometimes I have to admit that having someone’s business card is helpful, especially if it has their cellphone number on it. I recently stopped to look through the business cards on my desk, and some of them are quite attractive with eye catching logos, uplifting scripture messages and elegant fonts. This got me to thinking that business cards are kind of an artform. One of the business cards on my desk has the State Seal of Mississippi on it inscribed in gold lettering. Some business cards have information on the front and the back.

Another business card on my desk has no phone number on it at all. I’m not sure why a person would go to the expense of making business cards and not put their phone number on it. Some people cram their cards full of information to advertise products and services.

Sometimes people ask me for a business card, and I have to say, “Sorry, but I don’t have one.” One time a person questioned my identity because I did not have a business card. I can understand that person might be concerned if a reporter showed up and started asking questions without any identification. To alleviate the person’s concerns and prove to them that I was actually who I said I was I had them bring up the newspaper’s website on their computer. At the bottom of the stories I write there is a picture of me on the website. My picture is also on this column, which also helps the community recognize who I am.

I’m sure the company I work for would be happy to provide me with a business card and they may actually be upset that I don’t have one. After all, a big part of journalism is building up sources and a good way to make contacts is to exchange business cards. I just feel that people often lose other people’s business cards. In the past when I had business cards at other newspapers I’ve worked for I often did not carry them with me anyway. That is why I still have many business cards in storage from old jobs.

These days many people will just put your contact information in their phones rather than get a business card from you. But sometimes I still ask for someone’s business card especially if I am doing a story on a business and want to make sure I have the correct address and name spelling.

Business cards can be an important communication tool. I once had a teacher tell me that I should never put someone’s business card in my back pocket when it is given to me. This is a sign of disrespect because it indicates that the card will be sat on later. Instead a business card can be placed in the pocket of a shirt.

While I do not have a business card I do have a press badge with my picture that says I am an “authorized representative” of the New Albany Gazette. I think I am going to start wearing it around my neck with a lanyard. I feel that it is important that I have some identification with me that says I am a real reporter and not fake news.

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