Journalists must be adaptable and hungry as they face the new challenges of a converged media in 2009 and beyond.
He told delegates at the Society’s annual conference: “Don’t be afraid – be adapatable, be hungry, be innovative and enjoy the highs and lows of the best profession around.
“We as journalists always have adapted to change. Today change is a constant bedfellow. We’ve have to adapt – there’s no choice about it.
“Today’s writers are as comfortable with a microphone and camera stand as those in generations gone by were with pen and notebook.
“We are the storytellers and we have had to tell our stories in different and compelling ways – for audiences that in many places are growing, not diminishing.
“For those journalists who find change and progression an exciting challenge, there is nothing to fear in the Britain of today and tomorrow.
“Those who want to live in yesterday’s world might find challenge coming from a different direction and lose their place in the most exciting profession around.”
In a pre-cursor to his speech during last night’s annual dinner, Mr Pickover told senior media executives to stop “milking” local newspapers.
“You’ve milked great profits from these titles, now let’s put a little milk back,” he said.
Mr Pickover praised the media, in particular, for its reporting of the current financial crisis.
“There has been huge economic strain across the globe in recent months – and the world of media has been at the centre of the debate,” he added.
“With revenues blitzed and credit-crunched, it’s been tough times for many. In the newspaper industry some titles have lost staff and some titles have ceased to be.
“Television and radio operations have seen cutbacks with regional services under threat.
Yet through it all, the shining land guiding light of our journalism has shone through.
“We’ve been under pressure but we’ve been alive to the stories that matter and at the core of the story which has rocked the financial world.
“We have reported with courage, we have commented with much wisdom during the ongoing upheavals of the digital age.
“In our communities, be they a local newspaper grouping of a few thousand people, or the mega audiences of national TV or on-line, we are respected by millions, whatever the cynics say.”
“I know how hard Simon has worked, for all our sakes, in the past 12 months – and I think we should show our appreciation to him.
“We owe Bob a great deal of thanks for all his hard work and dedication to the Society and for the setting up of the conference.
“Now Bob and I have an even tougher job for 2009 – a great year for the Society which celebrates the 10th Anniversary of its formation in the spring.
“I am very proud of what the Society has achieved in a relatively short space of time – some great campaigning work for journalists up and down Britain from whatever discipline they come from.
“The Society of Editors, in my year as President, will continue to work tirelessly for your right to report on behalf of the public and to support your efforts in exploiting the unique power of storyteller.”