December 20, 2013

Christmas is just days away, but there’s still time to grab last-minute gifts — with rush shipping or a dash into your local retailer — for the journalists in your life, whether they’re minimalists or high maintenance.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. For the journalist with a sweet tooth

Vosges Chocolate Library confections come in chocolate gift boxes with a variety of choices, including a Milk or Dark Bacon Bar Library for $25, which combines hickory smoked bacon with milk or dark chocolate, and a Chocolate Bar Library with 12, three-ounce chocolate bars inside a Vosges signature book. While the signature book is $99, smaller chocolate boxes can be purchased for as low as $8.50 for the Mini Chocolate Bar Library.

Washington, D.C.-based journalist and author Tiffany Hawk is a big fan. “I love giving Vosges chocolate libraries to writers. They seem to be a hit, too.”

2. For the reporter looking for a little humor

It’s hard to resist the ever popular “Keep Calm” motto that dons a variety of paraphernalia. Any journalist facing a hard deadline can appreciate a T-shirt bearing the words, “Keep Calm and Write On.” On Friday, Cafe Press was advertising that it could still get the T-shirt to you by Christmas. At $24.95 plus shipping, this may be the gift that soothes the troubled scribe.

3. For the journalist needing to protect a techie investment

Covers for iPad cases are essential and ubiquitous for the coffee-drinking journalist on the go. But if you want style, look for interesting colors or textures like leather and designers like Michael Kors and Kate Spade among others. Don’t worry if you can’t afford the high-end variety that can run upwards of $130; cheaper iPad cases can be found as low as $29.99.

4. For the journo who wants to be prepared

Moleskine is always a solid choice for working journalists who need more than the standard spiral notebooks for their scribblings. The Moleskine notebooks come in sizes small enough to fit in a back pocket, making them handy for those moments of inspiration and documentation on the move.

“Some people like to have written notes if they’re working on a story,” says Los Angeles­based writer Tish Dragonette Hargens. “They come in different colors and different sizes depending on if it’s a guy or a gal. They’re classier and nicer than a [standard] notebook.”

The Moleskines can be found for $12.56 for a small, hard cover version, or $18.95 for the larger size.

5. For the reporter who needs relief while chained to the desk

Four words: Anti­-Stress Microwaveable Comfort Wrap. These wraps can be thrown in the microwave for heat then fit around the neck to ease tense muscles – the kind that accumulate after hours spent typing at a computer. The wraps can also be frozen to help reduce muscle swelling.

They are available for $9.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

6. For the journalist who wants to stand out

Pick up a set of Levenger pens for the discriminating journalist. Always appreciated, the classy pens in ballpoint, fountain or Rollerball versions come in a host of colors and styles, making writing a simple pleasure. There’s even a playful Acme Crayon Retractable Rollerball pen.

If you don’t see a good fit here, other gift ideas for journalists can be found in these lists:

• Poynter’s Sam Kirkland picks tech gifts for the mobile journalist
• Society of Professonal Journalists’ gifts for newsies
And, not least of all, two new books from Poynter’s collection: Kelly McBride’s and Tom Rosenstiel’s “The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century” and Roy Peter Clark’s “How to Write Short: Wordcraft for Fast Times.”


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