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The Art of Entertainment Writing and How to Become an Entertainment Writer

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The Art of Entertainment Writing and How to Become an Entertainment Writer

Entertainment is that activity providing amusement and enjoyment for leisure and fun purposes. Entertainment can range from television shows, live performances, events, musical extravaganza, games and adventurous sports, travelling & sightseeing and many more.

The entertainment industry is filled with actors, singers, diverse performers and, of course, travel and tourism take a major chunk.

However, entertainment writing is the other side of the coin and an exciting facet of the entertainment industry. The field of entertainment journalism can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, it calls for the perfect mix of various factors including education, networking and diligence.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications is your first step towards establishing yourself for a career in entertainment writing. Entertainment writing or reporting is a facet of journalism and, a degree in journalism can arm you with a journalistic aptitude and the tools required to research and draft a captivating story to engage your audience.

This can also include multimedia and photography since developing content with relevant graphics, high-quality images, videos and audio are equally important.

Internship

Your experience gained through internships also play an important role in becoming an entertainment writer. Internships are a great way to develop stories and create a portfolio with the best samples.

Read

Reading magazines and newspapers is critical to learn the aspects of journalism and entertainment writing. Reading magazines helps you focus on a particular topic and learn the format and style of writing.

Develop your writing skills

Make it a regular practice to hone your writing skills and enhance your vocabulary. One of the best ways to work on your writing ability is to write blogs for your school or university. This will also help you familiarize with journalism writing. Remember, writing is an ever-learning process. The more you write, the more you learn, unlearn and relearn the techniques of effective writing.

Develop your own niche and style

You should have your own voice and concentrate on a specific topic. Role of a generalist can kick start your career in the entertainment industry. However, choosing a niche you are passionate about has several paybacks. It will help you dedicate yourself completely in the subject and be an expert at it down the line.

Develop your network

Opportunities in the entertainment industry depend on connections. You should reach out to others in the industry and also with your mentors during the internship. Developing a positive rapport with like-minded individuals helps create a name for yourself and advance in your career.

Proficient computer skills

As an entertainment writer, you should master the art of creating and editing content on the computer using relevant software and editing tools.

Excellent interpersonal skills

In the entertainment industry, you will come across other journalists, editors and news directors. You may need to work with them too. Hence, it’s important to build a good rapport with fellow colleagues and develop contacts.

Maintain deadlines

Being an entertainment writer or any writer for that matter is all about meeting deadlines. Don’t give in to procrastination otherwise, the quality of your story will suffer. Missing deadlines frequently earn you a bad reputation and doubt among readers and editors.

Objective outlook

You have to create a story using only the facts without including your opinion or any bias. An objective approach to storytelling and reporting gives you the power to create original and quality copies that carry immense value.

Writing for the Travel and Tourism Industry

All types of entertainment writing require exceptional writing skills enabled with creativity. The same goes for travel writing since travel and tourism to represent the entertainment industry. Writing for the travel industry can particularly be an exciting option since you get an opportunity to leverage your creative skills to the maximum. Besides, some travel writing jobs or careers present an opportunity to travel and, this can be an exciting cultural expedition.

Is Travel Writing Your Cup of Tea?

Travel writing can be your profession if you have flexibility and self-motivation. You have to develop good ideas that have the potential to sell. In fact, you should write a lot, even for practising. A skill to play with words and create valuable content immensely helps.

Above all, it’s your attitude that matters. You should have the persistence and belief in yourself and you work. You need to learn to handle rejections and keep writing.

The Secret to be a Successful Travel Writer

Travel and tourism is a vast industry and, often, travel writers assume that everyone will be interested in reading their copy. However, the secret to striking the right chord with readers is to write as though nobody is interested. You need to bring in your creativity and vocabulary skills with a spectrum of ideas to draft articles that generate interest.

You need to know what exactly you are conveying to the reader. You should maintain the essence of the article. Your readers should be able to visualize it, feel it and go for it.

The following tips provide better insights to convert your travel writing dream into a reality:

Have a clear storyline

May be your recent trip to a scenic hotspot was indeed a memorable one. You also could write about a happening holiday destination. Whatever the case, just jotting down places of interest and activities will not pass the bill. A travel writer’s job is to develop a particular story to tell using the experience or events.

Ever heard of standfirst? It’s a brief introductory summary about a particular article appearing below the headline. Write an attractive standfirst and build your story from there.

Develop a goal

Check if the subject you are writing about has a goal to achieve or discover the surroundings. In any case, create a specific goal that speaks to readers on a personal level. Give readers the feel of where your description is taking them. Readers are looking for specific events or activities in your writing.

Edit the story

Travel destinations have a plot, dialogue, characters and more. Give shape and meaning to those factors and develop the story around them. Don’t include unnecessary fluff into your story.

Create an irresistible first paragraph

Use the different facets of the article to develop a powerful introduction. Induce drama, dialogue and style into your writing. Start writing in your own way but, make sure it attracts readers to your article.

Always write to entertain, not to impress

It’s fine to be experimental and playful. However, refrain from doing so at the readers’ expense. Always put efforts to write the facts and characters in an engaging and the simplest way possible.

Use vivid, authentic words

Very often, travel articles feature common and tried-and-tested words and phrases. These could be stunning, bustling, incredible, etc that can be used for any destination. Use words that are specific to a particular destination that helps readers visualize the picture.

Develop your own website

Gone are the days where your portfolio with publications had to be in a glossy mag. Switch to the digital age and build a website of your own. You can publish your best works and travel information as blogs. These days it’s easy to create a catchy and professional website for much less.

Publishing your work online helps expand your network of potential readers and is effective in spreading the word.

Develop your online presence

Just building your website and posting blogs is not the end. If you are looking to stay active online, create a page and build your presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. It’s an effective way to connect with other writers and editors, including potential readers.

Develop other relevant skills

Travel writing is also about having other important skills, including photography. Professionally shot photographs combined with impeccable content have the power to virtually transport readers to a destination.

Register yourself on travel writing websites

Tying up with well-known travel writing websites is a great way to enhance your opportunities. It’s your ticket to becoming a better travel writer and gain a foothold in the industry.

Remain updated with the travel industry

Your success as a travel writer depends on your knowledge about this dynamic industry. There are changes to rules and regulations pertaining to tourism in certain countries. There can be seasonal changes and Government intervention too. Signing up to various travel newsletters keep you on par with the industry. This goes a long way into you becoming a sought-after travel writer.

Persistence counts

There is nothing like persistence to taste success in travel writing. There’s cut-throat competition out there and, it can get frustrating sometimes. The key is not to get disheartened with no responses. You need to keep trying while looking out for new editors. Responses take time to come by and, sometimes you may be rejected. Keep your spirits high and keep making efforts. Persistence will eventually show results and bring recognition.

Defining a Story

A good story always focuses on the reader and not on the writer. Effective storytelling, whether its entertainment writing or travel writing, is about pleasing the audience and influencing their actions. Remember, a powerful story always belongs to the audience.

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Taking control of compliance: how FS institutions can keep up with the ever-changing regulatory landscape

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Taking control of compliance: how FS institutions can keep up with the ever-changing regulatory landscape 1

By Charles Southwood, Regional VP – Northern Europe and MEA at Denodo

The wide-spread digital transformation that has swept the financial services (FS) sector in recent years has brought with it a world of possibilities. As traditional financial institutions compete with a fresh wave of challenger banks and fintech startups, innovation is increasing at an unprecedented pace.

Emerging technologies – alongside the ever-evolving concept of online banking – have provided a platform in which the majority of customer interactions now take place in a digital format. The result of this is a never-ending stream of data and digital information. If used correctly, this data can help drive customer experience initiatives and shape wider business strategies, giving organisations a competitive edge.

However, before FS organisations can utilise data-driven insights, they need to ensure that they can adequately protect and secure that data, whilst also complying with mandatory regulatory requirements and governance laws.

The regulation minefield

Regulatory compliance in the FS sector is a complex field to navigate. Whether its potential financial fraud or money laundering, risk comes in many different forms. Due to their very nature – and the type of data that they hold – FS businesses are usually placed under the heaviest of scrutiny when it comes to achieving compliance and data governance, arguably held to a higher standard than those operating in any other industry.

In fact, research undertaken last month discovered that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had a greater impact on FS organisations than any other sector. Every respondent working in finance reported that the changes made to their organisation’s cyber security strategies in the last three years were, at least to some extent, as a result of the regulation.

To make matters even more confusing, the goalpost for 100% compliance is continually moving. In fact, between 2008 and 2016, there was a 500% increase in regulatory changes in developed markets. So even when organisations think they are on the right track, they cannot afford to become complacent. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), the requirements for central clearing and the second Payment Service Directive (PSD2), are just some examples of the regulations that have forced significant changes on the banking environment in recent years.

Keeping a handle on this legal minefield is only made more challenging by the fact that many FS organisations are juggling an unimaginable amount of data. This data is often complex and of poor quality. Structured, semi-structured and unstructured, it is stored in many different places – whether that’s in data lakes, on premise or in multi-cloud environments. FS organisations can find it extremely difficult just to find out exactly what information they are storing, let alone ensure that they are meeting the many requirements laid out by industry regulations.

A secret weapon

Modern technologies, such as data virtualisation, can help FS organisations to get a handle on their data – regardless of where it is stored or what format it is in. Through a single logical view of all data across an organisation, it boosts visibility and real-time availability of data. This means that governance, security and compliance can be centralised, vastly improving control and removing the need for repeatedly moving and copying the data around the enterprise. This can have an immediate impact in terms of enabling FS organisations to avoid data proliferation and ‘shadow’ IT.

In addition to this, when a new regulation is put in place, data virtualisation provides a way to easily find and access that data, so FS organisations can respond – without having to worry about alternative versions of that data – and ensures that they remain compliant from the offset. This level of control can be reflected even down to the finest details. For example, it is possible to set up access to governance rules through which operators can easily select who has access to what information across the organisation. They can alter settings for sharing, removing silos, masking and filtering through defined, role-based data access. In terms of governance, this feature is essential, ensuring that only those who have the correct permissions to access sensitive information are able to do so.

Compliance is a requirement that will be there forever. In fact, its role is only likely to increase as law catches up with technological advancement and the regulatory landscape continues to change. For FS organisations, failure to meet the latest legal requirements could be devastating. The monetary fines – although substantial – come second to the potential reputation damage associated with non-compliance. It could be the difference between an organisation surviving and failing in today’s climate.

No one knows what is around the corner. Whilst some companies may think they are ahead of the compliance game today, that could all change with the introduction of a new regulation tomorrow. The best way to ensure future compliance is to get a handle on your data. By providing total visibility, data virtualisation is helping organisations to gain back control and win the war for compliance.

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TCI: A time of critical importance

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TCI: A time of critical importance 2

By Fabrice Desnos, head of Northern Europe Region, Euler Hermes, the world’s leading trade credit insurer, outlines the importance of less publicised measures for the journey ahead.

After months of lockdown, Europe is shifting towards rebuilding economies and resuming trade. Amongst the multibillion-euro stimulus packages provided by governments to businesses to help them resume their engines of growth, the cooperation between the state and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters has perhaps missed the headlines. However, this cooperation will be vital when navigating the uncertain road ahead.

Covid-19 has created a global economic crisis of unprecedented scale and speed. Consequently, we’re experiencing unprecedented levels of support from national governments. Far-reaching fiscal intervention, job retention and business interruption loan schemes are providing a lifeline for businesses that have suffered reductions in turnovers to support national lockdowns.

However, it’s becoming clear the worst is still to come. The unintended consequence of government support measures is delaying the inevitable fallout in trade and commerce. Euler Hermes is already seeing increase in claims for late payments and expects this trend to accelerate as government support measures are progressively removed.

The Covid-19 crisis will have long lasting and sometimes irreversible effects on a number of sectors. It has accelerated transformations that were already underway and had radically changed the landscape for a number of businesses. This means we are seeing a growing number of “zombie” companies, currently under life support, but whose business models are no longer adapted for the post-crisis world. All factors which add up to what is best described as a corporate insolvency “time bomb”.

The effects of the crisis are already visible. In the second quarter of 2020, 147 large companies (those with a turnover above €50 million) failed; up from 77 in the first quarter, and compared to 163 for the whole of the first half of 2019. Retail, services, energy and automotive were the most impacted sectors this year, with the hotspots in retail and services in Western Europe and North America, energy in North America, and automotive in Western Europe

We expect this trend to accelerate and predict a +35% rise in corporate insolvencies globally by the end of 2021. European economies will be among the hardest hit. For example, Spain (+41%) and Italy (+27%) will see the most significant increases – alongside the UK (+43%), which will also feel the impact of Brexit – compared to France (+25%) or Germany (+12%).

Companies are restarting trade, often providing open credit to their clients. However, there can be no credit if there is no confidence. It is increasingly difficult for companies to identify which of their clients will emerge from the crisis from those that won’t, and whether or when they will be paid. In the immediate post-lockdown period, without visibility and confidence, the risk was that inter-company credit could evaporate, placing an additional liquidity strain on the companies that depend on it. This, in turn, would significantly put at risk the speed and extent of the economic recovery.

In recent months, Euler Hermes has co-operated with government agencies, trade associations and private sector trade credit insurance underwriters to create state support for intercompany trade, notably in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. All with the same goal: to allow companies to trade with each other in confidence.

By providing additional reinsurance capacity to the trade credit insurers, governments help them continue to provide cover to their clients at pre-crisis levels.

The beneficiaries are the thousands of businesses – clients of credit insurers and their buyers – that depend upon intercompany trade as a source of financing. Over 70% of Euler Hermes policyholders are SMEs, which are the lifeblood of our economies and major providers of jobs. These agreements are not without costs or constraints for the insurers, but the industry has chosen to place the interests of its clients and of the economy ahead of other considerations, mindful of the important role credit insurance and inter-company trade will play in the recovery.

Taking the UK as an example, trade credit insurers provide cover for more than £171billion of intercompany transactions, covering 13,000 suppliers and 650,000 buyers. The government has put in place a temporary scheme of £10billion to enable trade credit insurers, including Euler Hermes, to continue supporting businesses at risk due to the impact of coronavirus. This landmark agreement represents an important alliance between the public and private sectors to support trade and prevent the domino effect that payment defaults can create within critical supply chains.

But, as with all of the other government support measures, these schemes will not exist in the long term. It is already time for credit insurers and their clients to plan ahead, and prepare for a new normal in which the level and cost of credit risk will be heightened and where identifying the right counterparts, diversifying and insuring credit risk will be of paramount importance for businesses.

Trade credit insurance plays an understated role in the economy but is critical to its health. In normal circumstances, it tends to go unnoticed because it is doing its job. Government support schemes helped maintain confidence between companies and their customers in the immediate aftermath of the crisis.

However, as government support measures are progressively removed, this crisis will have a lasting impact. Accelerating transformations, leading to an increasing number of company restructurings and, in all likelihood, increasing the level of credit risk. To succeed in the post-crisis environment, bbusinesses have to move fast from resilience to adaptation. They have to adopt bold measures to protect their businesses against future crises (or another wave of this pandemic), minimize risk, and drive future growth. By maintaining trust to trade, with or without government support, credit insurance will have an increasing role to play in this.

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What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us?

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What Does the FinCEN File Leak Tell Us? 3

By Ted Sausen, Subject Matter Expert, NICE Actimize

On September 20, 2020, just four days after the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a much-anticipated Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the financial industry was shaken and their stock prices saw significant declines when the markets opened on Monday. So what caused this? Buzzfeed News in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released what is now being tagged the FinCEN files. These files and summarized reports describe over 200,000 transactions with a total over $2 trillion USD that has been reported to FinCEN as being suspicious in nature from the time periods 1999 to 2017. Buzzfeed obtained over 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and over 2,600 confidential documents financial institutions had filed with FinCEN over that span of time.

Similar such leaks have occurred previously, such as the Panama Papers in 2016 where over 11 million documents containing personal financial information on over 200,000 entities that belonged to a Panamanian law firm. This was followed up a year and a half later by the Paradise Papers in 2017. This leak contained even more documents and contained the names of more than 120,000 persons and entities. There are three factors that make the FinCEN Files leak significantly different than those mentioned. First, they are highly confidential documents leaked from a government agency. Secondly, they weren’t leaked from a single source. The leaked documents came from nearly 90 financial institutions facilitating financial transactions in more than 150 countries. Lastly, some high-profile names were released in this leak; however, the focus of this leak centered more around the transactions themselves and the financial institutions involved, not necessarily the names of individuals involved.

FinCEN Files and the Impact

What does this mean for the financial institutions? As mentioned above, many experienced a negative impact to their stocks. The next biggest impact is their reputation. Leaders of the highlighted institutions do not enjoy having potential shortcomings in their operations be exposed, nor do customers of those institutions appreciate seeing the institution managing their funds being published adversely in the media.

Where did the financial institutions go wrong? Based on the information, it is actually hard to say where they went wrong, or even ‘if’ they went wrong. Financial institutions are obligated to monitor transactional activity, both inbound and outbound, for suspicious or unusual behavior, especially those that could appear to be illicit activities related to money laundering. If such behavior is identified, the financial institution is required to complete a Suspicious Activity Report, or a SAR, and file it with FinCEN. The SAR contains all relevant information such as the parties involved, transaction(s), account(s), and details describing why the activity is deemed to be suspicious. In some cases, financial institutions will file a SAR if there is no direct suspicion; however, there also was not a logical explanation found either.

So what deems certain activities to be suspicious and how do financial institutions detect them? Most financial institutions have sophisticated solutions in place that monitor transactions over a period of time, and determine typical behavioral patterns for that client, and that client compared to their peers. If any activity falls disproportionately beyond those norms, the financial institution is notified, and an investigation is conducted. Because of the nature of this detection, incorporating multiple transactions, and comparing it to historical “norms”, it is very difficult to stop a transaction related to money laundering real-time. It is not uncommon for a transaction or series of transactions to occur and later be identified as suspicious, and a SAR is filed after the transaction has been completed.

FinCEN Files: Who’s at Fault?

Going back to my original question, was there any wrong doing? In this case, they were doing exactly what they were required to do. When suspicion was identified, SARs were filed. There are two things that are important to note. Suspicion does not equate to guilt, and individual financial institutions have a very limited view as to the overall flow of funds. They have visibility of where funds are coming from, or where they are going to; however, they don’t have an overall picture of the original source, or the final destination. The area where financial institutions may have fault is if multiple suspicions or probable guilt is found, but they fail to take appropriate action. According to Buzzfeed News, instances of transactions to or from sanctioned parties occurred, and known suspicious activity was allowed to continue after it was discovered.

Moving Forward

How do we do better? First and foremost, FinCEN needs to identify the source of the leak and fix it immediately. This is very sensitive data. Even within a financial institution, this information is only exposed to individuals with a high-level clearance on a need-to-know basis. This leak may result in relationship strains with some of the banks’ customers. Some people already have a fear of being watched or tracked, and releasing publicly that all these reports are being filed from financial institutions to the federal government won’t make that any better – especially if their financial institution was highlighted as one of those filing the most reports. Next, there has been more discussion around real-time AML. Many experts are still working on defining what that truly means, especially when some activities deal with multiple transactions over a period of time; however, there is definitely a place for certain money laundering transactions to be held in real time.

Lastly, the ability to share information between financial institutions more easily will go a long way in fighting financial crime overall. For those of you who are AML professionals, you may be thinking we already have such a mechanism in place with 314b. However, the feedback I have received is that it does not do an adequate job. It’s voluntary and getting responses to requests can be a challenge. Financial institutions need a consortium to effectively communicate with each other, while being able to exchange critical data needed for financial institutions to see the complete picture of financial transactions and all associated activities. That, combined with some type of feedback loop from law enforcement indicating which SARs are “useful” versus which are either “inadequate” or “unnecessary” will allow institutions to focus on those where criminal activity is really occurring.

We will continue to post updates as we learn more.

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