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Meet Brave New Word’s new employee. He’s got a story, too.

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

John Tinkelenberg

Words have a way of staying with you.

About five years ago, I couldn’t find a job in journalism, so I started working in manufacturing. I still believed I’d make it back. One day, a coworker called me out on it.

“You’re not a reporter anymore,” she said.

That stung, though in some ways, she was right. Six months had passed since I’d seen a newsroom. I was a temp. I was lucky to have a job at all. And besides, hadn’t I heard the news? Journalism was dead, and it was official: the only thing I’d be writing would be my resume.

Joke’s on that coworker, though. A few weeks later, I got a call from a friend on my old beat.

“Hey man,” he said. “How’s St. Louis treating you?”

“Alright, I guess,” I said.

“Cool. I got a guy that needs some content. You ever done that before?”

That was my entry into the world of freelance content writing, and five years later, I’m not alone. It turns out journalism’s alive and well. The Man’s just paying for it now. The Woman is, too. I work for her.

I met Mary Johnson last summer. I’d landed back in Charlotte, and I was on the hunt for my next adventure. People were back to telling me to give up on writing, the usual. Mary needed help with her growing business, so we met for coffee.

Part of a reporter’s job is discerning whether someone is the real deal. Mary was, and I could tell right away. She told me all about her business, Brave New Word, which she’d founded on a radical principle.

For most companies, content marketing is a numbers game. Use keywords. Move up in search results. Get clicks. No one thinks about the underlying story. No one thinks about the person.

Brave New Word believes stories are the real technology. Since the dawn of time, people have used them to connect to one another. And that humanity has passed down through the generations. Wherever there’s a campfire or a water cooler, there’s a story being told and a connection being made. I had come to the right place.

It takes guts to tell a story in this day and age. Sometimes, people shoot you down. But you have to keep scribbling because the story sticks around.


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