Oreste D’Arconte has been named the 2013 Person of the Year by the United Regional Chamber of Commerce. This is his second designation by the organization.
D’Arconte’s long career in journalism spanned from the late 1960s to July of this year, when he stepped down as publisher of The Sun Chronicle. He has been an active member of his community, serving as past chairman of the board of the United Regional Chamber of Commerce, past president of Friends of Attleboro Interested in Revitalization, as well as a tutor and past chairman of the board of The Literacy Center.
He holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Pennsylvania.
PBN: You’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the media industry throughout your tenure in publishing. What do you think has had the most impact on journalism?
D’ARCONTE: I go all the way back to manual typewriters and hot type, so I’ve seen a lot of changes. The reporting over the years is pretty much the same, but the tools are different. A reporter can report a story, shoot a picture and do a video, all on the iPad she carries with her. And we used to think, wow, something happened last night or this morning and, look, here it is already in our afternoon newspaper. Now it can be posted within minutes and have a greater impact on a larger audience. The true journalism, however, is and must be the same informed and thoughtful procedure.
PBN: News aggregate websites like BuzzFeed and Reddit are increasingly popular these days. What’s your take on these types of sites and how do you think they’ve impacted media and the work journalists create?
D’ARCONTE: The old media – newspapers, TV, radio – are still the most trusted and most frequently accessed sources for news, according to every study I’ve read. Newspapers today can boast of a major online presence, mobile apps, pushed headlines and all variations of alerts. The news media’s ability to get the news to the reader in some form or another, in a timely fashion – which is what many younger news users want – is getting better and more sophisticated every day.
PBN: What advice can you give to business professionals looking to improve their communication skills?
D’ARCONTE: Communication skills translate across all business models. To get and keep someone’s attention, you need to be engaging, you need to be accurate, balanced, trustworthy and have a “story” to tell that’s interesting or entertaining enough for the other person or people to sit through your first few sentences without tuning out. Lead with the most important “news” you are delivering. When it comes to actual speech-making, it’s necessary make all your points AND keep it short. Oh, and always leave room for a little humor, even if it’s at your own expense. •