Frequently Asked Questions
What's Up With The Gold Shoes?
Several years ago, while in Vegas (my spiritual home), my best friend Stephanie pointed out that my wardrobe was sorely lacking gold shoes, something every girl must have. I bought my first pair right on the spot, and have added to the collection since then. But gold shoes are more than footwear; it's a way of life. Gold makes everything better. (I also have a gold dining room, which is always open for friends to visit and enjoy a glass of wine.) Gold is beautiful and shiny and strong, which is why I like to wear it and be surrounded by the color. (I'm also a Leo, which explains it as well.) I often pack nothing but gold shoes when I'm traveling, because gold is versitile. Just like me. (I wear a 7.5, just in case there's a pair you need taken off your hands.)
I'm a student who wants to be a journalist. What's your advice?
No, seriously, I really want to be a journalist. More than anything else in the world.
I was just kidding about the last answer. Sort of. If you love telling stories more than anything, go for it! Read everything you can get your hands on, intern, intern, intern, and become proficient at writing across platforms.
Become familiar with The Poynter Institute For Media Studies, which has a wealth of information for journalists of all stages (and is where I got my start).
Find yourself a mentor and ask questions, but don't expect your mentor to have all the answers -- we're all learning how to adapt to this brave new world. And it's exciting.
But I want your job. It sounds like so much fun. How do I get it?
If I had a nickel ... this one's a two-parter.
My job is fun. But it's also very hard work. Spending time reporting stories is exhilierating and rewarding, but it's only part of what I do. As an editor, I'm also responsible for taking my stories and many other writers, and transforming them into the best fit for the magazine. This involves a lot of hours in front of a computer, many meetings, and long hours. I also coordinate the magazine's blog, The Daily South, and our social media. So if you see me out on the road enjoyng the local charcuterie plate, know that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Part two: I can't tell you how. Check out my bio: it's been a long, windy road. I didn't know, back in 1998, that accidentally covering health care would prepare me to go into PR and fundraising at a hospital in 2001, or that it would lead to a job working with a health & beauty section at the magazine in 2005. All along I worked to develop my skills: writing, editing and project management, and learned more about people. Along the way I developed an interest in the digital world and taught myself those skills.
Our industry is changing so rapidly that the best advice I can give is to hone your skills too. If you're a writer, it's not good enough to be a good one -- you're going to need to assemble a lot for your tool kit. Start a blog, leave comments on other people's blogs, find your voice, follow industry news and network (it's not a bad word).
Are you available to speak to my group?
Yes. I speak on topics like how to pitch a story, developing a digital presence, and social media 101.
I want to learn use social media for my personal or business use. Can you help me? What about social media in general?
I'd love to help. One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with someone and introduce them to the wide world of the social media (Twitter, Facebook, and more). It can be overhwhelming at first, but once you get the right tools, it's a breeze. Whether for personal or professional use -- or both -- I can get you set up.
What about strategy? I need to talk with someone who knows the media inside and out.
My career spans print (newspaper and magazine) and digital publishing, as well as public relations. Having been on both sides of the fence since going pro at age 18, I can help you craft your message so the right people pay attention.
Can you help me build my website?
That's one thing I can't do. (Content, yes, building no.) But I have a lot of friends who are experts. If you need a referral, I'd be glad to connect you with some talented folks.
Reach me here:
Looking forward to connecting! -- Erin