I spent a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon today with three fellow Fellows of CiB - a small but very effective association known as the British Association of Communicators in Business and soon to become the Institute of Internal Communications.
I was awarded Fellowship of CiB in 2007. So today it was my turn to give something back and help assess applications for this year's crop of Fellows. I hope they will all feel as pleased and honoured as I was to get this recognition.
But the reason for blogging tonight is because of a very brief conversation which took place over lunch.
We were reminiscing about early careers, and discussing how so many of CiB's members and Fellows came into the internal and business communications world via a stint in local newspapers. This is very much the heritage of CiB's membership - although it is changing a lot now, the association traditionally represented the interests of 'industrial editors', the people who write and edit organisations' own newspapers, company magazines, staff newsletters and the like, and most of these people have obviously had previous lives in journalism.
The question hung in the air: "So would we recommend such a career path to a young person today?"
Everyone went a bit quiet, while we muttered things about how many changes we had seen in local media and how worried we were for its future.
And tonight I read that MPs have started getting worried about this too.
Enders Analysis, a media consultancy, has warned that up to half of Britain's 1,300 regional titles could close within five years. Threats come in all shapes and sizes (quite a lot them web-related of course), but the big issue that caught my attention is the threat from council-run freesheets.
You'll know the sort of thing I mean - that glossy news magazine/tabloid that drops through your door and tells you what's going on and how wonderful life is in your neighbourhood.
I had not realised that these freesheets were causing so much damage to the local press, but the cross-party culture, media and sports committee of MPs has warned that such publications:
"pose as, and compete with, local commercial newspapers and are misleading to the public..."
You can download a copy of its 'Future for Local and Regional Media' report here (PDF).
The committee chairman is also quoted in the FT as saying:
"While it is important that local authorities communicate with their citizens, it is unacceptable that councils can set up publications in direct competition to local newspapers and that act as a vehicle for political propaganda".
Apparently the issue may get investigated by the OFT. It's something I shall watch more carefully in the coming months.
In the meantime, I didn't raise with my CiB colleagues today the obvious irony of the situation. How so many ex-newspaper reporters, now CiB members forging their careers as editors of pubic and private sector freesheets in the name of effective internal communications or PR, are potentially contributing to the destruction of the nursery slopes, the very best training ground they ever had...
So I'm not sure we could even suggest such a career path to young communicators anymore. My guess is the industrial editing future belongs to those people who can bring journalism skills from a very different, largely digitally-led, background. They will be the CiB Fellows of the future.