Archive for the ‘Journalism 101’ Category

What We Can All Learn From XYZPublicist

November 18, 2009


Each month, I edit a relationship column for a national, women’s lifestyle publication. Sometimes I write the column myself. If I’m extremely swamped, I assign the story out to another freelance writer.

It’s one of my many hustles. And I like that I have to think like an editor. It helps me when I’m trying to pitch articles to other editors.

In my line of work as an editor, I deal with publicists, usually for authors who have written books about relationship issues or therapists, professors and other folks who are experts in relationship stuff.

There are many times that I find myself staring at a deadline and I have all my interviews completed for a story–but I haven’t found a relationship expert to interview. So I’m scrambling like mad, emailing folks to try and secure someone for my column.

(I’m getting to a point here.)

It would make sense to prepare for this in advance and line up interviews with several authors, professors and therapists.

But I don’t do that. I scramble at deadline time. Most editors do.

So. November 4th, I get an email.


Journalism 101: What NOT to Do

September 3, 2009


Editors actually do read their email.

All of them.

Every single one.

Maybe not on the very day it comes into their mailbox. But they do read it.

I think one of the biggest strengths I can bring to you, my dear readers, is that I play both sides of the fence. I write. And I edit. I send out pitches. I accept pitches.

I’m a switch hitter. A bi-writer.

So I know what editors want.

And I know how they treat the communications we send them.

It starts with a subject heading.

Journalism 101: What New Writers Can Learn From Sadia B.

August 25, 2009


So, I lost my phone the other day. (So long Blackberry! Hello i-phone!)

I know I lost my phone near the Urban Outfitters in Montclair, New Jersey. (I was on my way to buy another headband. It’s a long story. Right Lil Miss Brown?)

Anyway. So I lost my phone somewhere near Urban Outfitters. I came home and Googled the store to get the number.

I ended up on a site called Yelp, a pseudo social networking site where users post reviews on restaurants, clothing stores and anything and everything else in their area.

And that’s how I discovered Sadia B.

Sadia B. Stolen from her Yelp page. Sorry Sadia. I only mean the very best!

This is Sadia B. Stolen from her Yelp page. Sorry Sadia. I only mean the very best!


Journalism 101: What NOT to do

August 20, 2009


I am a mid-career journalist. I was a teacher for several years before I jumped ship and tried to craft a career as a writer.

Because I did not have a journalism degree or many contacts in the field, I felt like I was starting at the bottom of a ladder with missing rungs and splintering wood.

I harassed everyone I knew for help. Tips. Phone numbers. Email addresses.

I hand wrote notes to writers I admired. I left voice mails after hours for editors I hoped to write for one day. (Too afraid to call during the day when they might actually pick up).

Getting on is a hustle.

Now, I’ve made my way a bit. And surprisingly, I’ve become one of those people that new writers want to know.


Be My Guest/Journalism 101: Clover Hope

August 12, 2009


A special treat today dear readers. Ms. Clover Hope, who blessed us with an awesome guest blog back in June, is back!

This time, she’s here to impart wisdom on the rewriting process.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it til I’m in the blue face: Clover is nice with the words. I’m honored and excited that she’s agreed to giving us a peek into her methodology.

Clover recently wrote a piece for XXL magazine on the phenomena of southern dance music. (Do the Hally Berry!) Today, she guides us through her process, from rough draft to published piece.