Courtney Brandt, Author, Journalist, Founder of A to Za’atar and Grady Alum: Guest Curator for October 2021

To further our mission to talk about process and quality in journalism, each guest curator has highlighted what he or she sees as the “don’t want to miss” pieces posted to Grady Newsource that month, along with some constructive reflection about the journalism.

About This Month’s Guest Curator 

Courtney Brandt is an American author, journalist, and freelance content creator living in Dubai, UAE. To date, she’s been published with Forbes Middle East, Curiosity Magazine, Elite Daily, The Forward Feed, Food&Wine, Sopexa, A Luxury Travel Blog, Matador Network, JustLuxe, Travelettes, Citizen Femme, Dining and Nightlife Middle East, and Roads & Kingdoms. She provides global hotel coverage with Northstar Media and was part of The World’s Most Luxurious Hotels program on BBC5 in 2019. She recently attended the World’s 50 Best Awards in Antwerp, and plans to attend San Sebastian Gastronomika in November 2021.

As the founder of A to Za’atar, Ms. Brandt has spoken at a number of conferences, including Gulf Host, The Restaurant Show, Middle East Food Forum, Travel Tech Middle East, Caterer Middle East, PechaKucha, and SMS Summit Jordan, and attended the Google Local Guides Summit in October 2018 and November 2019.

The author of fourteen novels, in March 2019, Courtney was delighted to be involved as an author in the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Writing in numerous genres, including young adult and contemporary, she has a story for you.

1
"Textbook MMJ Work" by Nikki Shotz

@gradynewsource

Textbook MMJ work, @nikkishotzz. 👏

♬ original sound - gradynewsource

I like this piece because I think having a presence on a platform like TikTok is imperative for capturing those in a certain demographic. While the news might not be the most interesting thing on TikTok, this was a fun and informative post, and I feel it's a great way to connect with a younger demographic. I would consider making certain segments routine, or scheduling regular content for specific days to give audiences something to look forward to).

2
UGA’s Kyser Lough On Trends In Photojournalism, Studying The Visual Communications Field

Having done a podcast myself, it's a medium I really enjoy, and I appreciate a longer form of journalism.  To me, this is a valuable skill for post-graduates. Yes, almost everyone has a podcast these days, but producing/creating/writing scripts for podcasts could be a great way to get a job, or create niche content on a subject. (And yes, I also enjoyed what the story was about!)  I looked for Grady Newsource on Apple podcasts, but couldn't find it. I would consider increasing the network for where the podcast is shared.

3
Grady Newsource Newsletter: Oct. 11, 2021

I'm a newsletter junkie! My current newsletter, the Weekly A to Z, goes out to nearly 5,000 Food and Beverage and hospitality professionals across the Gulf Cooperation Council. While trendy now, I also believe newsletters are a great way to 'own' an audience (in a way that we don't via other social media networks). Much like podcasting, simple skills like formatting, a professional approach, and punctuality matter.

4
"Local Artists Use Pop-Up Sales To Fill Pandemic Void" by Autumn Sanford
A paper sign that reads "Pop Up Sale" hangs on a wooden telephone pole next to an empty street

This story appealed to me, as it appeared to be something that could be 'only in Athens,' and I appreciated the local value in it. The story was also helpful in drawing attention to perhaps a segment of the community that might be overlooked. If I lived in Athens, this story would inspire me to check out one of the pop-ups.

5
"Sustainable Solution For Green Pollution: How Nonnative Privet Impacts Georgia" by Laura Lenz

I learned something new on a topic I don't know much about, which I enjoyed. I thought the use of the infographic was excellent, easy to understand, and well produced. Additionally, choosing to cover a story on sustainability methods is always a win.

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