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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts on Travel Journalism

April 24th, 2012 - I had the honor of being asked to be on the review panel of Loyola School of Mass Communication for the 2012 graduates by Valerie Andrews, the Internship Coordinator. These students have spent countless hours in building their portfolio and I have to say that I was very impressed by Loyola's Mass Comm program. Though pleasantly surprise, I am no stranger to the caliber of Loyola Mass Comm Students. During the initial days of publishing Amelie G approximately 2 years ago, 2 interns of Amelie G were from Loyola, Angie Hernandez and Delia Howe. Both were innovative and intuitive to the fashion and publishing world, which are the key factors of Amelie G. Hernandez later assumed the role of Editor-In-Chief for The Wolf, Loyola's very own Student Periodical. 

During the panel review, I had the privilege to review 4 senior's portfolio. Each port were special in their own ways. In this post, I would like to focus in on Travel Journalism:
Travel Journalism appears to be a favorite subject amongst Journalism Majors. As data have proven, this is a very competitive area of journalism. 2 of my students were trying to figure out the best way to reach their goal of working for a Travel Magazine. Consider this: besides blogging about the recent vacation trip that you took with your parents, what makes your port stand out from others? As a publisher, when I think about port, I am not looking for just the assignment results of writing about your experience in your recent travel. Rather, I am looking for the overall travel experience that you have. Yes, you love to travel and write about the passion of your life, but the question that beckons to be answered is how do you achieve the edge in your experience? As I was pondering on this today, I drew a parallelism to my personal area of interest, fashion and design. Your experience and expertise grow over time. Perhaps it's not the easiest to land a job in Conde Nast's Traveler or Afar. What is your next option besides applying for ALL travel publications that pays your bills but yet moves you 1 step closer to your dream? 
1) Work for a vacation planning agency
Agency such as TravelCorp provide the right amount of experience for you to gain industry insiders knowledge that most journalist won't get their hands on
2) Work for an Airline or Cruise company
Sure, you went to school for Mass Comm, not Hospitality. But this viable option provides the opportunity to travel to destinations that most of your peers only wish they can afford, without breaking into your own budget
3) Work for a world-renown Hotel
Again, I understand you don't think you will do well in serving hands and feet of the annoying hotel guests, but in the big scheme of things, these are ultimately your audience. Working in a hotel will not only provide you the opportunity to move and live in another city, but it will also allow you to interact with your audience directly. The first 2 options touches on this but this option will expose you to the international crowd that will pass through your hotel. 

Note that these are not proven methods, nor will I claim that I am a travel journalism expert. But like my favorite travel journalist/broadcaster, Anthony Bourdain, he mastered his skills in culinary and has done his time to appreciate the culinary world, before traveling to see other culinary of the world. The key factor here is to become well-adverse in your area of interest that your audience look at you as the expert. Travel Journalism is a result of your experience, not the reason that you get to Travel. 

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