Want to succeed in journalism? Photograph yourself with a tree

“Me a financial journalist?”, an Austrian lady with lively eyes exclaimed, tearing into her steak. “I thought; never!”

She was over here two years ago to report on the economic crisis and had stopped by at my house for dinner. It was the first time my parents and I had met her but she had come highly recommended by her Viennese aunt, a friend of my father’s. I was in my third year of college and still under the impression that the world was my oyster.

“How has the recession had an impact on you?” she asked between bites.
I thought. “Wealthy parents no longer want me to teach their children Irish”, I mused “and as a result I’m more conscious of the price of coffee. Coffee is my main source of expenditure”. She scribbled this down in her notebook.

I was about to explain to her that Insomnia’s €3 coffee and mufffin deal (do you remember?) was topping my list of recession busters but that were the food not so disgusting, the “Weekly Madness” deal in Londis would have come out tops, when she asked “What would you like to be?”

“I would like to write feature articles for newspapers” I said.

She poured herself some juice and sat back. “You need to be open”, she said, “and you need to stand out. I never saw myself writing about economics.. I mean, me and finance come on”..

“You need to send good photographs to editors”, she continued. “Not boring ones. Ideally you should be out in nature. The photograph I used to get this job was of me with a tree. It’s important that you be different from the crowd”.

In the days, weeks and months that followed that conversation, I considered setting the self-timer of my camera and wrapping myself originally around one of the sycamore trees in my garden, but weather and the proximity of my neighbour’s back window to my creative space did not permit.

I did however take on board her advice, and the photograph that I use in the “Who Am I” section of this blog features me with a Slovenian tree which I accosted on the shores of Lake Bled during an interrail adventure with my LSB two summers ago. Though I have been a hard-working teacher for a week now, I’m keeping the old literary passion alive and my big toe in the door by accepting the position of editor of a new literary website: www.writing.ie, which launched last night after months of hard work by a small group of driven and creative people from whom I am learning to multitask. For the “about us” section of the site, I have chosen to feature a photograph of myself beside a large sunflower, as my sycamore tree wouldn’t fit on the photograph. Who would have thought that a financial journalist could inspire such a circuitous plug. I guess her editor would agree with me that she is one hundred percent natural…

7 thoughts on “Want to succeed in journalism? Photograph yourself with a tree

  1. Inspiring post! Totally solved the mystery of you and the tree!
    And you exude a different charisma with the sunflower pic! That has got me thinking about putting up a pic with my current blog as well.hah..Maybe with some other objects though – else I will look like a copy-cat – instead of possessing a streak of good adaptation.:D

    One question I have though – have you still been widening your vocabulary? I was just thinking – a good writer does not only possess the capability of delivering in varying ways but as well as being able to use different words at different time..so I was just thinking if you have had the chance to keep honing your skills in different ways?(aside from reading contents written by others)


  2. Thanks so much for reading again and leaving a comment! I think photos are interesting on blogs; I understand the reluctance though – you don’t want your writing too coloured by them but I know that I always look at the “About me” sections of blogs. I don’t deliberately look for new vocabulary no. I think you pick it up from reading and once you have absorbed new words it becomes natural to use them yourself. How do you do it?


    • I like the new pensive header you have up there:D
      Photos are definitely strengthens the blog entries – I think I used to read short stories before(very long time ago) when there was a couple of pictures to illustrate key points. It helps but the right number of illustrations does help to put emphasis accordingly.

      Oh yes, about the vocabulary – I do pick one or two words now and then when I read new content but the problem for me, it doesnt sink in as quickly unless I am really fascinated about the word and it doesnt come to usage as fast as I would want to though. So I was just wondering if there were some other tips to pick up new words and also being able to inject them into certain articles along the way..


  3. Nice to meet you Kate. πŸ™‚ Great post. My daughter is also teaching English as a foreign language. She is in France for the year and also 23. Thanks for stopping by and like I said, I will feed the next pigeon I see in your honor..lol


  4. Nice to meet you too πŸ™‚ I’m sure the pidgeon will really appreciate it! I hope your daughter’s enjoying France! I’ve never seen a skunk but I call my boyfriend one affectionately so I’m sure that when the time comes, we will get on famously.


  5. You said this wasn’t good – bonkahs, it’s as good as ever πŸ™‚

    P.S. I’d completely forgotten about the ‘weekly madness’ in Londis *early recession nostalgia.*

    P.P.S. I’ve never forgotten Insomnia raising their offer’s price.



  6. Gorgi, if I wasn’t about to start correcting elementary exam papers, I’d do a post about you being a complete ledgecake. D’you remember how we used to really resent that the cafe sol deal was €.3.50 even though the drinks are fuller than the River Nile and the scones as large as a small landmass? scarlet for us. (That’s an idiom)

    I have chronic early recession nostalgia (CERN)D’you remember the recession denial we engaged in in summer 2008 over a coffee in insomnia nasseau street? those were the days.

    c’mere xxx


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