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A reporter’s notebook is a license to talk to interesting people.

Ever since I declared journalism as my college major, I’ve been striking up conversations with strangers. The notebook gives me a reason—and permission—to do it without feeling intrusive. Since my first reporting job at The Tampa Tribune, I’ve interviewed architects, designers, chefs, inventors, entrepreneurs, authors, activists – even a fashion designer (who paused during our conversation to give me tailoring tips for my suit.)

The interviews I conduct still challenge, inspire, and move me.

A reporter’s notebook is also a ticket to interesting places. Readers want to be taken somewhere, and, as their surrogate, I have “stomped the divots” at polo tournaments, broken speed records in an offshore power boat, drifted over Florida in a hot air balloon, watched the filming of “This Old House” for PBS and sashayed into Playboy Bunny tryouts. The key to bringing these experiences to life, is to convey the details.

Funny how my notebook – such a low-tech device – is the only thing I need to capture the sights, smells, sounds, and excitement of our world.


Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of The Anchor Clankers.