Danny Rubin is the managing editor of News To Live By, a blog for Millennials that highlights career advice and leadership insights. Danny’s articles are featured on several blogs and news sites, including Parade Magazine and Huffington Post. He’s also the author of “25 Things Every Young Professional Should Know by Age 25,” available on Amazon.
Danny and I crossed paths several months ago, and his perspective is a welcomed one. He does a great job of mixing news with humor and perspective. Danny has a skillful talent for this. Several of his articles have been featured on Thin Difference, and What Every 20-Something Will One Day Tell Their Kids is one of the more popular and active ones.
Recently, I asked Danny several questions to go deeper into his approach and insights on his generation. Highlighted below is our interview.
An Exchange with Danny Rubin, A Millennial Leader
Q: When you started News to Live By, what was your primary mission with the site and has it evolved over time?
Danny: The goal with News To Live By was – and still is – to create a news product that meshes with the Millennial generation. Traditional media has trouble capturing younger readers, and I think part of the solution is to deliver content that speaks our language.
A year into the blog my mission remains the same, but my strategy to reach a wider audience continues to evolve. Trial and error reveals the smartest ways to communicate online with a niche audience. In that way, the blog is an excellent teaching tool and has elevated every aspect of my professional life: writing, social media, networking, web development, delivering sound arguments, crafting smart headlines and the list goes on.
I tell every young person interested in the communications field to start a blog and learn from the ground up.
Q: As you read various new stories, do you look for the humorous angle first or the career and leadership ones?
Danny: I always look for the leadership angle first. I truly believe daily headlines are full of learning opportunities. In the news, we see the good and bad of humanity and countless examples of what it takes to ‘make it’ in our society. Sometimes, those lessons aren’t so obvious, and it takes a creative approach to bring them to the surface. That’s where I hope News To Live By has value.
The humor is secondary when I write or sometimes not at all. I rely on instinct to determine the tone of each piece. If the topic ‘feels’ tongue-in-cheek, then I go that route. If it should be serious, then I opt for a more direct approach. I work hard on my range. I have huge respect for Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie and a columnist for the Detroit Free Press). He writes with a blend of deliberateness, humor, empathy and wit. To me, that’s the perfect formula.
Q: Why do you bring humor into your writing?
Danny: It’s important to laugh at ourselves and our faults. It’s easier to joke about the (many) Gen Y issues and keep the mood light while looking for solutions. Unless, as I said above, the topic or issue requires a more austere approach. No generation, Gen X, Baby Boomer or otherwise, wants to be talked down to all day. I also make sure to say how ‘we’ as a generation can improve and not ‘them’ or ‘you.’ I’m working on myself along with every other 20-something.
I offer analysis for my generation, not lectures to them, and there is a difference.
Q: When you talk with Millennials, what are your top three things you have learned about this generation?
Danny: We are difficult to impress but tend to respond well when something is done in a genuine way. Give us the ‘real’ and skip the artificial. We’re transparent in that way.
Despite all the fracas on Capitol Hill, student debt woes and a rough job market, we are remarkably optimistic. No matter how tough things become, we’re always hopeful for tomorrow and believe we can make a significant impact. Positivity is a rare commodity, and it should count for something.
In many ways, I feel Millennials are similar to older generations. I am a few months shy of 30 and see a lot of my friends start to ‘settle down.’ We buy houses, get married and begin to stick around the same company and not job hop as often. Every generation must look at 20-somethings, wring their hands and think “What is this world coming to?!” I believe Millennials will do our country proud once it’s our turn to lead…if we spend these early years watching, listening and observing. In that way, I want News To Live By to be part of that learning process.
Q: What are the top three things you have learned in your career that you want to pass on to other Millennials in the workforce?
- Nothing proves yourself faster to superiors than taking initiative and following through.
- Skills are essential, but advice is golden. Look for people willing to share their insight and ask questions whenever you can.
- No one likes a long-winded speaker or verbose writer. Once you’ve made your point, it’s time to stop.
My gratitude to Danny Rubin for his time and, most importantly, for his great work and solid viewpoints. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @NewsToLiveBy and read his insights at News To Live By. No matter your generation, you will always gain a new perspective and leave with a smile on your face.