September 18, 2013


The theme I have selected only allows me to insert a very small banner which unfortunately doesn't work well with the rest of my blog. I have work with the options available within the blog theme to create a banner that works, and also made one using Adobe Photoshop to demonstrate my desired blog banner:

This banner represents my professional profile and the overall tone I want people viewing my blog to pick up on. It is professional, simple and unique.
  • Professional: I continued with my chosen colour palette of white, black and grey, for the writing and images, and my chosen font of Times New Roman. These design elements were selected to create a professional and refined image. The banner is the first part of my blog that viewers will see, so it is important the banner aligns perfectly with this image.
  • Simple: My blog uses uses white space as a key design element and this extends to the banner. There is no background colour, and the images and text I have used have plenty of space between them to avoid cluttering the top of my blog.
  • Unique: This banner speaks volumes about who I am. It is professional, like me, but it has personality. I want to be a music journalist, so I have included three photos of musicians that represent my taste in music. I've used bands that most people will know - The Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles and Passion Pit  - but that also represent the more 'independent' side of the music industry, where my interest lies.
This banner is professional and streamlined, but it isn't boring. Ultimately, this is the goal I have had from the beginning for the layout of my blog and I'm pleased to have come up with a visual representation of who I am and where I want to go.


August 29, 2013


Colour is not only an important tool for creating visual appeal and attracting attention; it is also used to communicate a message and build a mood and style. This sentence seems to be becoming very repetitive on my blog, but I'll say it again: I prefer a sleek, classic and uncomplicated look and feel. This is what represents me, and the image I'm trying to create of myself. Thus, I've chosen a pretty simple colour palette of black, white and grey. I've mentioned the influence Russh magazine and Oyster magazine has on my favoured aesthetic before, and this extends to colour. These publications tend to use simple black and white palettes.


I've used  'colour symbolism' information to research what feelings and meanings these colours 'evoke', several of which align with the message I want to send to my audience about who I am:
  • Black: sophistication, power, formality, elegance, depth, style, authority
  • White: simplicity, cleanliness, precision, freshness
  • Grey: reliability, intelligence


Black and white is, unsurprisingly, an extremely popular colour combination choice for websites because it's so elegant and versatile. I've decided to add grey to the combination to add a bit more interest. This black/white/grey combination is quite popular as well in web design because it's clean and subtle. This minimalist approach is also good because too many colours can be overwhelming and distract from the actual content - which is what I want my audience to really focus on. 


Not using bright colours also means that the colour photos I use will stand out. As I am aspiring to be an arts journalist, the images I choose to feature are especially important: because it's quite a visual sector of journalism, they'll be communicating quite a bit about who I am and the direction I want to take my career. They need to stand out!


August 27, 2013


The fonts I have chosen for my blog are Georgia and Times New Roman. Georgia is one of my personal favourite fonts, but it's also a strategic choice using it for my blog, and I have added Times New Roman for a small amount of contrast.

Georgia was designed for maximum clarity on a screen - perfect for a purely online medium such as a blog which may be viewed on a computer monitor, mobile phone or tablet. Microsoft claims that Georgia "exudes a sense of friendliness; a feeling of intimacy," which also suits the blogging medium, as it is quite personal. I want to connect with my audience, and if a font can make that easier, well, all the better.

Georgia is a serif font, so it works well for continuous prose such as these posts. I've decided to stick with Georgia for most of my blog - the headings, sub-headings, etc. - simply to avoid clutter and confusion for my audience and maintain the clean aesthetic of my blog.

Essentially, I've kept it all fairly basic and straightforward, using black-on-white text and sentence case for maximum legibility. Perhaps the fanciest thing I've done is play around a bit with the font and use lowercase/uppercase letters for my blog title/post titles. Jennifer Farley notes that Georgia and Times New Roman are very similar, so it can be a little jarring to have them together as it might create discordance for the audience. However, she concedes that for headings this isn't too much of a problem. Thus, I've chosen to risk it by using these two fonts together, but I've also made the blog title and posts titles all in italic to add a tad more contrast. Using italics and lowercase for the blog title also makes it stand out and provides some interest, and the uppercase post titles serve the same purpose, and signals to the reader that it is a new post.
I've also aligned the text to make sure the blog is clean and 'held together'.


August 20, 2013


The overall message I want a future employer to take from my blog is essentially that I would be a good investment as an employee. The most important points to get across can be narrowed down to:
  • Possessing strong journalistic writing skills
  • Having a thorough understanding of social media (I have links to my social media profiles on the sidebar of my blog) 
  • Having a strong knowledge of the music industry
  • Being intelligent in a more general way (i.e. good spelling and grammar skills and knowing what's going on in the world around me)
  • Having a near obsession with the music industry and a passion for all areas of the arts
Essentially, I want to be viewed as the ideal candidate for a job in music journalism.

Currently, I have two pages on my blog: a 'home' page containing all my posts, and an 'about me' page with a photo and summary of who I am and where I want to go.

In terms of adding 'layered' elements to help with 'selling' myself, a page outlining my experience (a resume of sorts) may be beneficial. Although I talk a bit about what I've done in my 'about me' page, having a section dedicated to this will make it easier for potential employers to clearly see the experience I have and skills I possess.

In a similar vein to the above page, a 'published work' page is also a good idea. I am proud of my work for The Dwarf, and providing links to the best examples of my work will help potential employers see what I'm made of. I have also written some posts on my day-to-day blog that I believe are 'link-worthy' and the work experience I have done for Netball Queensland, while not directly related to my music ambitions, is another good example of my work.

Currently in my sidebar, I have a list of 'daily reads', but this area of my blog is starting to get a little cluttered, so it may be a better idea to move this to a separate space. Although it isn't a demonstration of my own work, this page is important because it communicates to employers the publications - and the writing - that I admire, giving an indication of the kind of writing I'm interesting in pursuing. Moving it to another page also means I can put more thought into structuring it, and there are less limitations on the number of links I can include.


August 12, 2013


Meet me:

This is the image I have selected for the 'about me' page of my blog. It was previously used in a post and on the 'about me' page of my music/fashion/lifestyle blog and it is just as appropriate for this more 'professional' blog. Although this image doesn't contain any obvious references to my love of music, it does communicate a lot about who I am as a person.

I considered assembling a bunch of my favourite records and albums (similar to the image in my first post) but on a practical level - based on the career path I hope to pursue - I decided that it may be more beneficial to use a photo that actually contained me. Music journalism involves interviewing - possibly on camera - and being 'out and about' at events. I'm certainly under no illusions about my level of attractiveness but I think in an industry that isn't totally behind-closed-doors, potential employers are keen to see what potential employees look like. 

I also could have rocked one of my band shirts in the photo but, honestly, that just felt a little cliche, so I opted for an image of me in one of the outfits that makes me look and feel most creative. I'm also interested in other areas of arts journalism, so a photo that isn't too specialised will appeal to a wider number of potential employers. 

The photograph is well spaced, utilising the 'rule-of-thirds' and uncluttered. The lighting is also good, and it is in focus. In short, it looks fairly professional. 

My biography is relevant to my target audience and a little more specialised towards music journalism specifically than my photo. It begins by explaining my passion for music and experience so far in the music industry, before elaborating onto what it is about the industry that attracts me, and the areas of it that most intrigue me. It is important to add this extra information because music journalism is so competitive, and it extremely important to make yourself stand out.

I've also spoken about what I'm studying and why, so potential employers will know I'm equipping myself with all the necessary skills for the industry, and I've expressed my interest in internships and further experience because, well, I want my target audience to know that I'm keen!

I've also mentioned my upcoming exchange and plans to move further down the track so that employers are aware of my plans and aspirations. 


August 6, 2013


The layout I have selected for my blog is clean, streamlined and simple. I adore the layout of magazines such as RUSSH and Oyster and I suppose that it where the ‘inspiration’ for my blog layout came from. These magazines have very distinct ‘looks’ incorporating particular fonts, colours and layouts that have become synonymous with the publications.

RUSSH magazine

Oyster magazine

Given that the reader’s eye is first drawn to the top left of the screen, this is where I have placed the name of my blog. Although it seems like a fairly obvious placement, the top left of a webpage has become the ‘accepted’ place for a title, name or cover line because it is where the viewer’s eye is naturally drawn.
It was a personal preference to place navigation on the right-column of the page, but looking at the results of Eyetrack III I found that although it tended to be less common, right-column navigation reported better usage than top of the page or left-column, enough to convince me that the decision I had made was a viable one.
I have a strong interest in the arts, in particular the music industry, an area that lends itself well to the use of images. I also enjoy photography, so I’d like to use my own images as well where it fits. For this reason, I have used a basic black-and-white palate because I want the images I use to be selected so they have impact and add something to what I’m writing about. The simple colour scheme will let the images take centre stage with no bright distractions.

Oyster magazine

I prefer to use high quality images that fit with the ‘sleek’ feel of the blog, especially because it is preferable to use large images to hold viewer’s attention more consistently and for longer. 

Until next time,


August 5, 2013


My name is Eliza and I’m a nineteen-year-old journalism student at QUT. I’m hoping to work as an arts journalist when I graduate with music being my particular interest. I’m especially interested in the ‘independent’ side of the industry and I’d like to live and work in the UK.

There’s quite a distance between where I am now and where I want to be, of course, but a SWOT analysis of me and my career goal is a useful tool in assessing how I can get there.


I am interning at a music website, The Dwarf, where I work as a sub-editor for the live music section. This has given me plenty of experience writing live reviews, and I have worked with PR companies whilst requesting access for other contributors, giving me the opportunity to start getting my name circulating in the industry. I have also been blogging for a few years on a personal blog covering fashion, art, travel, music and food. My writing is definitely one of my biggest strengths – it’s something I love and something I am good at. Aside from actual experience in the area, I’m very driven and willing to work hard and work for free because it is an area I desperately want to pursue. I follow arts/music news quite closely and strive to stay up to date, and build my knowledge of the industry in general. I have the ability to be objective. Arts/music journalism can become fraught when it comes to PR relationships. It is important to walk a fine line between maintaining strong professional relationships with PR professionals (as they are extremely important in arts journalism as an access point) and maintaining credibility as an honest journalist. I am studying PR as well as journalism, not only because it is something I’m interested in career-wise, but also to gain a more thorough understanding of the industry. My internship at The Dwarf has given me the opportunity to review many bands and I’ve learnt a lot about being objective and offering criticism, as well as credit, where it is due.


I am a quiet person and fairly shy which has presented some challenges. I tend to be extremely nervous before interviews and I find it hard to talk to someone ‘on the fly.’ I am alright when I’ve got notes, time, and a set of questions, but if I have to make a conversation flow and there is a camera in front of me, I freeze up fairly badly. I need to build my confidence and ability to project a positive image, and work on my interviewing skills. It’s also important for any journalist to be across social media and have a strong online image and presence, which is an area I have to work on. Music and arts journalism work may be freelance and may also involve me writing pieces that are entirely mine from concept to final product. This is an area I need to work on as I am still developing my own voice and though I find it easy to write about a given topic or issue, I still need to practice coming up with my own concepts for stories.


Besides university, work experience seems to be one of the most important factors in moving into the journalism industry. I love working for the The Dwarf and I am learning a lot from it, so I will continue interning there as long as it is feasible. I also need to find other work experience opportunities in both journalism and PR to gain further experience and build contacts. I’m hoping to do a year of Honours studies which will make my course four years long – this is important if I want to work overseas because there are countries that only recognise university degrees that are at least four years long. Next year I am hoping to do a semester of study in London so I have a circle of contacts in the city.


There are a number of challenges standing in the way of my dream career. Perhaps the most significant is that journalism as a whole is in the midst of immense amounts of change and the industry is still finding ways of making digital journalism profitable. This coupled with the fact that music journalism is a fairly small sector of the industry means that paid music journalism work is few and far between. ‘Citizen Journalism’ and the amount of free music news and information available also present a monetisation challenge, and there is plenty of competition for jobs as it is an area that appeals to many people.
Until next time,