Journalism 101 for Bloggers: Lesson One

Happy 2012 everyone!!  I hope all had a safe and joyful celebration.  As promised, I want to start this new year off with inspiration!  Hopefully, many of you as fashion and style bloggers see the potential we have to help small businesses, designers, retailers, and others by reporting and reviewing what is in the marketplace.  There are also opportunities for many of you to help your local communities with great communication done with style and class.

What you need to remember, is that the majority of individuals writing for fashion magazines, and newspaper style sections have journalism degrees.  They have been properly trained and worked internships to sharpen their skills.    But, there are basics you can learn and practice so that your blog presents the same quality and professionalism as these publications.  I have taught high school journalists for eleven years!  One of my former students is currently in Iowa covering the caucus for a major daily newspaper! I decided to major in journalism when I was in eighth grade and never changed my mind…it is, my passion!  Before I jump to interviewing techniques, I wanted to begin with the basics: the  tools of the trade and learning to think like a journalist!

You do not need all of these tools, but here is what will make your job easier:

1. A business card.  This simple piece of paper legitimizes who you are and introduces you as a professional.

2. For photography, it does help to have a smart phone, so that you can take pictures quickly and without being noticed.  But, if you have permission to cover an event, then it also helps to have a great digital camera.

3. A voice recorder.  Some of you already have this on your smart phone.  I like the hand held recorder that I can just place on a nearby table in addition to taking notes.  Why do both?  Technology has been known to fail at the absolute worst moments!
In lesson two, we will discuss the importance of quoting people correctly.  The reason I use the hand held recorder is the quality is sharper than the phone app so I can understand all the words.  Also, in an interview, you should ask their permission to record the conversation.

4.  A reporter’s notebook.  I use a professional reporter’s notebook that is designed to fit in your hand…but you can use anything that works best for you…just as long as you take notes and get the information correct!  I always take several pens just in case they begin to run out of ink or just cease working!

5.  Finally, a very fashionable, large bag to carry all of this….and a beautiful, confident smile and attitude!! 

I love to carry my Simply Vera bag from Kohls for interviews!  It holds
all I need it to!

Now, if you look to your right and click on the page which says Journalism 101 for Bloggers, you can read about the qualities which make for great journalists!  These are things to keep in mind as you begin to cover stories for your own blog, and I have given you a specific example for each category, so you understand the correlation.  A very simple definition of journalism is, “Storytelling with a purpose.”  If you can tell your readers a great story and they can see the purpose or the meaning behind it and how it relates to them, then you have done your job!

Begin to read product reviews and fashion interviews and pay attention to details.  Try to figure out what the journalist was asking which lead to the answers given in the article.  Reading, reading, reading is one of the best ways to learn.

Lesson Two will cover interview specifics and will run later this week!!  Until then, if you have questions or want to discuss anything here…please email me

COURAGE!  Some call it hutzpah!  It can
be your best friend as a blogger practicing
good journalism!!


  1. Pam, Happy New Years & All the best in 2012!

    You are always an inspiration, thank you!

    I hope you will enter my Giveaway From Serena & Lily!

    Art by Karena

  2. I know I will enjoy this series…as my students are sometimes obliged to include interview material in their papers, but I hardly approach it from a journalistic point of view. the hand-held recorder looks like a nifty gadget.

  3. As former journalist, I still have my press badges, although I've yet to actually use them for anything related to blogging.

  4. What voice recorder would you recommend? Should it also have a way to attach an external mic?

    And yes, business cards = professional. I get mine from MOO as their card stock is thick and sturdy. I even have my city's old municipal flag on the back next to my contact info as a way to represent my home (Louisville, Kentucky, if you're wondering)!

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