Interview with Ally The Journalist
Most people generate negative perceptions about young adults, they don’t take life seriously, they don’t want to work for anything. I can go on and on about all of the negative stereotypes that revolve around young adults especially young black adults. Now I’m not saying that they are lies but what I am saying is that there are young black adults who are working really hard to make their dreams become a reality. Meet Allison Hazel, a recent college graduate from Delaware State University, most know her as “Ally the Journalist.” Ally is a music blogger and journalist, she started her own site Ally The Journalist. From interviewing major hitters in the music world and finding new talent, Ally is making a name for herself using herself as the brand. I had a great conversation with Ally, we talked about it all, from how she got her start, to working in the music industry. Check it out….
SH: So tell me a little bit about yourself
Ally: Well, first everyone calls me Ally, my full name is Allison but I prefer Ally. I’m 22 years old, I just turned 22 this summer. I’m a music journalist and blogger, I went to Delaware State University, I started blogging while in college. I was introduced to the world of blogging while being a senior in high school. I actually started blogging in college, when I first started blogging I was horrible, but over the course of three years I got the hang of it. I would honestly say about a year ago I started taking it seriously. I decided first to brand myself and my site, I was sitting in my room one day trying to figure out how can create my own brand. I thought, “well my name is Ally so All the Journalist sounds cool. I think it can kinda be something.” And then I changed all my social media handles to that name and had a friend of a friend do my logo, and the rest was kinda history.
SH: So how did you get your start in journalism?
Ally: I’m really quiet and shy but I’m friendly. I got involved on campus and became involved with student government. I then got involved with the campus paper and radio. When artists would come to the school I was always the one doing the interviews because I was you know “Ally the Journalist,” and people started calling me that on campus. I started interning and learning more, and even today I’m still trying to grow my brand and be a mini mogul.
SH: How did you come up with the idea to keep blogging after college and create your own site?
Ally: Now in this day and age that we live in, while I encourage people to go to school and get an education, I do feel like now you don’t necessarily need to go to school to make it. I feel like you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want. I don’t feel like its a traditional way anymore, you don’t have to go to work for forty or fifty years, there are people starting from youtube who are making it. The market is open and the sky is the limit, so once I figured out I could create this brand and make money off of advertisements and speaking I wanted to continue, and it was my passion.
SH: What advice would you give to college students who want to become a bloggers or go into journalism? One of the things that hinders a lot of people is that they feel like so many people are already doing it, so what advice would you give?
Ally: I would say you need to be genuine and authentic, because everything is so saturated especially in music and entertainment and know exactly what you want to do. For instance a blogger and a journalist are two different things, I’m a blogger and journalist but a lot of people don’t know that they are different. So first deciding what you want to be, and making sure you are passionate about doing it and not just jumping on it because it’s a trend. Then I’d say be consistent, ask yourself are you willing to write posts everyday? Are you willing to go out and network and get those interviews? Also make sure that you are being different, bring something different don’t just post the same things that everyone else is posting, add something different that sets you apart. And above all be passionate about it.
SH: Speaking of different, how do you think your site is different from any other site? What would make someone want to come visit and how have you set yourself apart or are setting yourself apart?
Ally: Well, I still even to this day try and figure out where I’m going to go with content creation. I literally sit down and brain storm and decide what’s not out there already. When I first started blogging I was doing what everyone else was doing, but then I realized that I had to bring something new. For me I try to focus on what my tagline is on the site, “where underground meets mainstream.” I ask myself, “what is going to make the person or the reader feel like they are apart of the industry?” From the outside looking in I feel like people look at the industry and see it as this fake kind of world, and it wasn’t until I got into the industry that I saw something different. I started getting to know people and I realized that so and so is just like us. So my site is for that girl who is aspiring to be that A&R or that guy who is trying to get his record put on. Its for that kind of audience, I find the up and coming artists. I introduce you to people you don’t know yet, while incorporating mainstream news. I don’t write about what Beyonce wore you can go on E! and look at that but I will do a story on five ways Beyonce is empowering women. I bridge the gap between underground and mainstream.
SH: So how much content do you add on your site daily?
Ally: Me right now I do one blog post a day and that’s because I’m the only one who writes on my site. It depends on how much time you have, if you have the time of if you have the writers, and have a team you can do more. A lot of the popular sites have many writers and they are doing ten stories a day and that’s probably per channel so it depends on what your working with. So I’d say to start a blog post a day, me personally I’d say you have to do more than once a week if your site talks about current news. There are some sites that can post weekly, and it’s good for them, so it depends on what your content is that will determine how much you post.
SH: You made the statement before and I’m sure you get asked this question a lot, what is the difference to you between a journalist and a blogger?
Ally: The crazy thing is the people who know me don’t consider me a blogger they consider me a journalist with a blog. I call myself a blogger and a journalist but for people who don’t know the difference it’s interchangeable for them. I would say a journalist is someone who eats breathes and sleep the content. They know different styles of writing, “the who, what, when, and where.” They know the standard journalism rules. And then a blogger doesn’t have to be as strong a writer, its more like they’re talking to their home girl. So for example, Elliott Wilson a journalist he is not a blogger, I wouldn’t consider someone who writes for “The Shaderoom” a journalist. No shade to them I love the site but they are bloggers. So that’s the distinction for me, I am not trying to shame anyone because I call myself a blogger, and I have noticed bickering within the industry where people will say, “you’re not a journalist, you’re just a blogger.” But I feel like everyone should respect each others lanes.
SH: Do you find that the tension stems from social media stars or reality stars getting positions before people who went to school for those same positions? For instance, a person who went to school for four years to be on the radio could still be struggling but a reality star will get to become radio personality with no formal training because they are famous. What are your thoughts on that?
Ally: Personally it doesn’t bother me but I can see where it can become an “okay, wait a minute” kind of thing. I’ll kinda break it down like this, for me personally everyone’s journey is different, I do not regret going to school at all, it was an arm and a leg but it was my journey and it made me who I am now. And I’m only 22 so I can’t imagine trying to do blogging or journalism at 18 right after high school so I needed school. And a lot not all but a lot of these reality stars actually had their own struggle it’s not on television but they were in this game awhile before they got their big break on television. For instance Yandy Smith, she went to school, she had the internship, worked her behind off, and then went on reality tv. Reality television is a platform, people use it as a stepping stone to do what they want to do. They were able to take their 15 minutes of fame and make it work for them and I don’t see anything wrong with it. I do believe if you stay true to what you want to do it will happen.
SH: What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about bloggers and journalist?
Ally: That it’s work! I did over time develop relationships with people who are “famous” and it looks cool on social media but it is work. And being a female you have to be level headed, you have to be on your “A game.” You attend events and most of the time its open bar so you have to know when to choose the sprite over the shot. Yeah the events are fun but you have to know that you are here to do the job and the job is to cover the event, get the interview, you do that first. That’s what separates the people who are passionate and the people who just want to take a cool picture or be on snap chat.
SH: You don’t want to look like a prude but know that you have to get the job done, how do you as a female maintain that level head at all times?
Ally: I get the quotes and the interviews, I’m not pressed to be at an event all night. I’ve always been a level headed kinda girl, I have good mentors, and I’m not the girl who is just going to be out there like that. I know where I want to be so I don’t want to make that type of name for myself.
SH: So is your site your main source of income and what is your typical day like?
Ally: So I get this a lot, I wake up really early 5:00am 6am ish, I feel like if you wake up early you can get a lot done. Every day I do emails in the morning, I check the social media handles to know what the stories are. I have “FOMO” you know (fear of missing out) so I get all of the stories really early, and not just music and entertainment all news. Then I blog and post, workout yoga all that good stuff, and then I take classes at night. During the day I run my site and then at night I attend class, I also have a Management/PR firm. My days are really random, down the line I do want to be a Professor so yeah I am all over the place. I find a lot of free classes to attend to keep me up on things. Aside from that I may write and edit for people to make money as well, and my site has advertisements on them. My site currently is not my sole source of income. If your blog isn’t where you can make it your job you can find other ways to generate income, you can write as a freelancer, you can edit for people, there are a lot of ways to generate income. Whatever you’re good at find a way to make money from it until your site is your main source of income. And I SAVE SAVE SAVE! A lot of people don’t save so I save a lot so it can help me in the future.
SH: Who inspires you?
Ally: This is so generic but my mom, I am a first generation American, my parents came here on the American dream kinda thing. My mom works really hard she’s a nurse.
SH: Where is your family from?
Ally: Guyana Ally: My mom went back to school and became a nurse while me and my brother were in school. She has done so much her grind was the example, laziness doesn’t exist over here, so in my personal life she inspires me. As far as professional, I am a girl power person, going back to reality television Nene Leakes she took that fifteen minutes and turned it into 15 million (Ally laughs and I join in). I love people like that who can create brands, Karen Civil, Necole Kane, those people who brand themselves and can change everything around for themselves.
SH: So the next questions are flash questions, you answer them without thinking.
SH: Your favorite time of day?
Ally: I’m a night owl.
SH: Your favorite blog or site other than your own?
Ally: Imma have to go with XONecole
SH: If you weren’t a blogger/journalist, what would you be?
Ally: I like interior design or one of those food people who go around and test out food, or a travel agent.
SH: Favorite writer?
Ally: Daniel Smith
SH: The last book you read?
Ally: Climbing the ladder in stilettos by: Lynette Lewis
SH: Who is Allison Hazel?
Ally: She’s a very ambitious motivated kinda person. Very down to earth a typical girl you know who loves lattes and walks in the park. A shy girl who is scared of scary movies. I’m just a motivated person who will stop at nothing to follow her dreams and I’m friendly.
Allison Hazel or “Ally the Journalist” is a young woman who is making moves and doing so while using herself to create an amazing brand. While talking to her I learned a lot, mainly that you don’t have to change who you are to fit in. Often we want so badly to become successful that we will do whatever is necessary to get there. Ally stays true to who she is and maintains a level head while getting the job done. One of the biggest takeaways was that you can start where you are and use your many talents to help you along the way. At the root of it all Ally is a journalist that loves music, she has turned that into a growing brand that gives artists a platform. She didn’t stop at writing, she does speaking engagements, and covers many educational and media based conferences and events. This girl is one the move!
Keep up with Ally the Journalist on social media
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