A lot of people in journalism on twitter do the occasional interview: the occasional podcast. And perhaps the occasional video podcast. While I can understand that many of these people do not have tremendous financial resources, there are some items they can buy that really boost their credibility when engaged in such activities. All too often I see young journalists appear on a show using their laptop’s microphone or webcam, making them look fairly unprofessional. It’s entirely true that having a nicer mic or webcam does nothing to improve your ability to be an effective thinker, it does provide a real clarity and crispness to your argument and appearance that there otherwise would not be. Especially when the medium is solely voice, having a good quality voice matters.

There is a reason why newspapers are formatted the way they are. There is a reason why online news publications maintain a crisp format and don’t use comic sans. Just as using comic sans implies a lack of seriousness, a laptop microphone implies a lack of seriousness or professionalism.

OK, I’ll admit it. I have a blue yeti which is a far nicer mic I need for anything I do at all regularly. But for ~$22 you can have a mic which doesn’t sound bad. Sure, nobody will be thinking it’s a great mic, but on the other hand it’s not notably bad. It should last fairly well. This microphone on Amazon seems pretty reasonable based on reviews, and is good enough to make one seem serious. While nowhere near studio quality it’ll pass as good enough to most who listen. And compared to many out there, it will sound amazing.

For $20, the boost in credibility is substantial.