Work as a Journalist Online

I went to school for journalism. I’ve gotten a few jobs at newspapers, but they are never full time and the pay is terrible. Now I’m working at an Apple Store, trying to figure out what to do. Where are all the journalism jobs?

2 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    First, for everyone who is reading this who does not have a jounalism degree, you don’t need one to be a journalist, so don’t waste your time.

    Start reading stuff about managing your career. You need to have a better sense of what other people are doing who are successful at getting what they want. So each day, force yourself to read one blog post, somewhere, about how to get a job, how to write a resume, how to network. Those are topics that will be really important to you.

    You need to start writing places for free, so that you have a portfolio of writing that people can look at.

    The way you get a job as an online journalist is that you show you can write and get traffic. So first, get sites to let you write for them, and then, after you are doing one blog post/article a week for various web sites. You will do this by pitching and networking, and writing a lot on spec.

    Then start thinking about how to quantify to employers that you are writing GOOD stuff online. The way you do this is by saying you got x number of comments, or x number of twitter links to your post, or things like that that are ways to quanitify that your post got traffic.

    There are TONS of jobs for writing online, but you have to prove you know how to write online in order to get them.

    You absolutely must stop thinking of yourself as a print journalist because there are no jobs. This means that all the rules you learned in print journalism don’t apply to how your are going to get a job. You need to read TONS of blogs you start getting a feel for how people are writing for blogs and what gets a lot of traffic.

    You should also start your own blog. That is your real resume. If you want a job writing online, any employer will say “Why aren’t you doing it now if that’s what you want to do?” And it’s a decent question. No one is stopping you from writing right now. You don’t need to be paid to write something good. Just write it and put it on your blog. Your blog doesn’t need to get a lot of traffic. It just needs to be there when an employer wants to see what you can do.

    Finally, your resume should be about all the stuff I just outlined. Your resume dones’t need to be about what people paid you to do. Your resume should be about what you are good at doing that you want to be hired to do.

    I know this is a lot. This will all probably take you six months if you work at it for a few hours every single day. But if you think about it, you were willing to work a few hours every day for that journalism degree, and you did that without even having a plan for how it was going to get you a job. So it should be easier for you to work a few hours a day on this plan.

    Good luck!


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