2A’s own Lois Jane uses journalism for fresh storytelling

By Forsyth Alexander

decorative image of Jane and a newsroom

Image by Thad Allen

While other children in her Brooklyn neighborhood were on the playground or hanging with friends, Jane Dornemann was busy publishing a newspaper full of stories about what was happening around her. How this journalist grew in Brooklyn and then branched out until she joined the storytelling team at 2A is a fascinating tale of determination, family ties, world travel, climate change, content marketing, and death doulas.

Dogged by climate change

After graduating from Fordham University with a journalism and communications degree, Jane spent a year as a print media buyer in New York before traveling to Florence, Bangkok, and Honolulu to teach English. Her family has strong roots in Hawaii—can you say “kama’aina?”*—and she found a home there for a couple of years. She earned a master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Hawaii while writing and editing for newspapers and other publications.

*Child of the land

Once she earned her master’s, she returned to New York, where she turned her thoughts to meshing her skills with the needs of her family, particularly her son’s health. This entailed working in PR and communications. Eventually, it also meant leaving New York for cities chosen for their weather. But then, as she puts it, they were “chased out by climate change” as smoky conditions became less favorable for her son.

Her adventures in climate change are how she ended up in her current home in Durham, NC, where she works surrounded by posters picked up on the streets during her travels. In Durham, she began applying her writing skills to content marketing and freelancing, which also included ghostwriting.

“I’ve worked in three different areas I see as kind of a triangle”

Jane sees journalism, PR, and content marketing as a triangle, because the three connect. “Look at content marketing. A big part of it is the audience. It’s like pitching a story in PR or creating a messaging framework in communications.” She says they all require asking yourself who the reader will be and what is needed in terms of voice.

She finds a lot of satisfaction in content marketing, which is what 2A clients are looking for when they engage with us. From blogs to eBooks to animations and more—she is adept at using content for awareness and education.

A nugget of goodness in every content bite

Even though she rarely writes investigative exposés anymore and she’s no longer responsible for launching major press campaigns, Jane still uses those skills. Often clients come to us with a need to extoll the benefits of their products and services, and they are looking for a fresh new way to talk about them. If Jane is their storyteller, they will get the freshest of the fresh with added sparkle because nobody knows how to get to the golden nugget of a story and then write great headlines better than a journalist with PR experience.

For example, while writing a blog about the benefits of AI, Jane dug through the client’s interview and found out that the client had developed a first-of-its-kind AI platform. And for a recent case study, she did the math to home in on key numbers that would impress readers and then wrote unforgettable headlines to move the story.

Also, while working on a talk track for a Microsoft conference, she discovered some nuggets about the process itself that she shared in a recent 2A spotlight blog. “Building a talk track isn’t as simple as churning out a few bullet points—it’s more like constructing a house. The presenter and the writer begin with a few ideas, and through an iterative and highly collaborative process, those ideas become a final presentation,” she wrote.

Going for the gusto

Jane’s ability to pull out new and different perspectives from life’s experiences is not confined to delighting 2A clients. Since 2018, she has been a death doula, someone who helps people at the end of their lives—and their families—with the transition. She says that she has learned a lot from her patients. “You should go for the gusto,” she says, “If you are thinking about doing something out of your comfort zone, do it, so you don’t have regrets later.”