Thursday, 1 March 2012

18. Always dress smartly, you don’t know where you may have to go. Looking like a slob is bad for you and the newspaper.

Information, Broadcasting and Labour Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga has warned Journalists in the country that they risked being barred from covering functions at State House and any other state function if they continue with their ‘improper’ dressing.
The visibly annoyed Mr. Malupenga was shocked to see some Journalists from named private media houses dressed in dirty jeans, hanging shirt and wearing canvas when they covered President Michael Sata at State House yesterday.
Mr. Malupenga threatened that media personnel who fail to dress properly will would not be allowed to cover the Head of State.
Mr. Malupenga said at a meeting with all media heads at Cabinet Office it was resolved that Journalists covering State functions should be smartly dressed at all times.
ZANIS reports that the Permanent Secretary was addressing Journalists at State House in Lusaka yesterday.
“I had a meeting with your bosses at Cabinet Office and we resolved that action shall be taken with immediate effect on Journalists who opted not to dress smartly and don’t cry foul because we expect you media people to look presentable by dressing in proper attire.
“Don’t accuse us of putting blocks to frustrate your work,” Mr. Malupenga said.

As a reporter you will rarely know where you are going or who you are meeting from one day to the next. This doesn't apply to everyone who works on papers - some know they will be sitting in the office churning out press releases until their P45 arrives on their desk.

(But since you, dear reader, are checking out jornalismtips let us assume you hope to do rather better than that.)

In an ideal world you will (for chaps at least) wear a suit - but in this age of austerity (as indeed it has been especially for new weekly newspaper reporters in the past 20 years) not always affordable. But you will at least need one for special occasions - such as covering funerals, Remembrance Sunday, royal visits and the like....oh yes and for going to your next interview with another newspaper.

But a smart dress code is essential. At the very least - and it is worth noting what the rest of the news reporters are wearing - smart trousers and a shirt and tie are essential.

Remember you are meeting the public and while you may not agree with a tie the person you are interviewing might. They will look and be judging you and appearance is a part of that.

Plus if you are going to knock on the door of a stranger do you really think jeans and a t-shirt would encourage people to invite you in?

People will take you more seriously if you are smart - particularly (but by no means exclusively) the elderly, and especially that which went through National Service.

More importantly though it is simply polite and professional. Looking like a slob will only confirm some people's already dim view of our occupation.

And on a local you are fighting to be taken seriously. While I agree journalism is more about intelligent questioning and writing every element is important - perhaps some more than others but important nonetheless.

So in a way I can sympathise with Amos Malupenga's view point...but that is a whole different story.

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