Archive for April, 2015

Writer/editor who will help your business grow


I’m lucky because I’m living my two dreams — to live in the South and to be a writer.

I came to Pensacola in 1978 to be a reporter for the Pensacola News Journal. After a stint as editor in charge of local news, I became a columnist for several years. Then, I spent a year teaching journalism at Spring Hill College — a refreshing break from “the real world” — before going into public relations working for the State of Florida, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and E.W. Bullock Associates, which handles marketing for numerous businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. I returned to the News Journal in 1999 and wrote more than 2,000 columns about the people and institutions of our area — never missing a deadline!

Since 2011 I’ve been in business for myself, free to write for people and organizations I prize.


More about Mark O’Brien
Writer of blogs, tweets, email campaigns, news releases and video scripts that consistently deliver effective results for clients.

Experienced writer of advertising copy in a variety of formats.

Certified and accredited as a public relations professional who helps individuals, businesses and institutions tell their stories.

Author of literally thousands of newspaper columns and news stories.

Author of two books, “Sand In My Shoes” and “Pensacola On My Mind.”

Ghostwriter of books for others on topics such as marketing and social media as well as co-author of histories on local families and the University of South Aabama.

Producer and host of “The Mark O’Brien Show” on BLAB-TV and WCOA radio; host of BLAB-TV infomercials for Baptist Hospital, the City of Pensacola and private attorneys.

Writing awards: National Society of Newspaper Columnists (twice), Pensacola League of Women Voters, Pensacola Press Club.

Former newsman for The Associated Press. Also wrote for USA Today, The Boston Globe, Editor & Publisher and other publications.

Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development, Troy University; bachelor’s degree in English, University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Young folks may be smarter than Baby Boomers

I’m a certified old guy and I have two questions:

What’s with all these folks moaning about “Millennials” and their view of life?

And why don’t critics concede that maybe it’s tougher in some ways today for people in their 20s and 30s?

Generation-bashing is nothing new.

I clearly recall my parents and other folks complaining about Baby Boomers and our sense of entitlement and our alleged unwillingness to work for anything.

Maybe my fellow Boomers have a collective case of amnesia, but I suspect they all were scolded at one time or another by “grownups” who said we needed to work more, goof off less and appreciate all they had given us.

And what about their complaints about men’s long hair and women’s clothing choices back in the 1960s and ‘70s? Are we forgetting those comments, oh fellow Boomers who rant about today’s tattooed youth with droopy pants?

It’s part of a long tradition of young people determined to tick off the old. Today’s youth just have to go to more extremes because the Baby Boomers went so far rebelling against their parents.


I suspect people have been complaining about “kids these days” ever since Adam and Eve were raising their young’uns, who incidentally weren’t all shining examples of virtue.

In many ways, today’s young people have it much tougher than Boomers did.

The blue-collar jobs of old required few credentials yet offered paths to promotions and better pay. Most of those jobs are in China now, however, and unskilled people can only ask, “Do you want fries with that?”

College is much more expensive, too. I went to a state college where basic tuition was $100 a semester. That’s correct – 100 dollars. I made $73 a week at my job, so tuition was not a tough reach.

Books then cost a tiny fraction of their price today. Anyone remember those Penguin Classics that cost 95 cents apiece? This means books for an English class seldom cost more than $10 per semester.

In the early 1970s, jobs for new college grads were hard to come by. The economy was struggling and the job market was flooded with other Boomers. But the cost of living was far from what it is now; I made $103 a week and had a $35-a-week furnished apartment in a good neighborhood and thought I was living like a king.

Those rents no longer exist, at least not in the United States.

Millennials also get a bad rap because many of them want jobs with flexible hours, a pleasant working environment and lots of praise for a job well done.

I spent 23 years working in a windowless tomb of a building for a huge, very profitable corporation that spent little on training and once held the annual company picnic in the parking lot rather than spend a few bucks to reserve a pavilion in a real park.

The bosses called at all hours and shrieked in horror at the thought of giving compliments, let alone raises.

Personally, I think young people are right to expect more from employers and more from life.

I like to think of it this way, “We Boomers raised some smart kids.”


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