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Five great journalist portfolio and CV websites

Whether you are a journalism student about to graduate, a freelance reporter or a journalist who recognises the important of an online presence, you have no doubt considered an online CV (or resumé) and portfolio of your work.

Before you start, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, consider a profile on about.me and sign up to add your articles to Journalisted.

Another thing to bear in mind is the Marmite of CVs, the infographic CV. If you decide to go down this route tread very, very carefully as the comments on this infographic CV suggest most hate rather than love this visual but busy and often confusing style of CV.

Here are five great examples to inspire you to create your own:

1. Freelance journalist Josephine Moulds offers this fine example an online portfolio. Moulds has opted for a simple, easy to navigate site with her articles organised into five categories that reflect her specialisms. All information is included on the home page and she uses the logos of sites and newspapers, such as the Telegraph, the Times and the Guardian, which helps the reader. She includes a photograph of herself, and links to her Journalisted profile and CV.

Moulds told Journalism.co.uk creating a site has paid off:

I didn’t realise how much I needed a website until I got one. Before, I had to paste a series of links at the bottom of pitches to editors, and was probably lucky if they visited one. This way, I get to send them one link to a page that shows at least four stories, a brief biography, and a photo, which is handy if you want them to remember you from a meeting.

It is part of my email signature and on my Twitter page. I’m always surprised by how many people click through from emails and later comment on it.

Moulds’ profile uses WordPress so she can easily update it whenever she has an article published. The template was created by Matthew Taylor, who creates portfolio sites for journalists, as Moulds explains:

It’s custom-made for journalists so it’s easy to put up new articles, and the logos appear automatically. I’ve got about 80 articles up there and it probably took a couple of hours to find them online and paste them in.

2. BBC freelancer and co-founder of Not on the Wires Alex Wood also uses WordPress as the CMS for his portfolio site. Wood has web design experience and opted for a paid for template costing around $30 “that I pretty much gutted”.

Wood has put a great deal of effort into thinking about branding and fonts. His site design is consistent with his Twitter page.

Wood created the one-page CV in Adobe Illustrator, which he has uploaded and embedded using Scribd. It uses HTML5, which means it is both indexed by Google and easy to copy and paste if commissioning editors want to save a copy.

“I made a lot of effort to make the CV match the branding of the website,” he said. The inclusion of Skills Cloud works to great effect as “so many of us are multi-skilled it’s helpful for people to be able to see at a glance”.

Wood’s advice is to keep an online profile focused towards Journalism and to be “up front” on the landing page and transparent. He said he is aware that freelancers and recent graduates often have many skills but he found having one all encompassing site worked against him. Wood previously used his Alex Wood Creates site as his portfolio but found editors were confused as to whether he was a journalist or web designer.

I pitch stories to editors and they have very little time to check the site. Be very careful with how people perceive you.

3. Freelance journalist Ciara Leeming also uses WordPress for her site, allowing her to easily update content. She has divided her work into multimedia, print and photos and its simplicity is its strength.

Leeming explained her previous site did not have a CMS, which was a source of frustration:

So I approached a former colleague Chris Horkan, who now runs OH Digital (he was our digital editor when I worked on the North West Enquirer, which went into administration, pushing me into freelancing), to see if he could sort me out.

I told them exactly what I needed to be added to the site, and they went away and thought about how to do it. They added a multimedia section to my site, changed the way the photo slideshows worked, imported my blog onto the site from Blogger and gave me a WordPress CMS, which they showed me how to use. The design of the site is the same as it was before – it just works much better for me now.

The effort and investment has paid off for Leeming.

I’ve had the site in its latest incarnation since January 2010 and it’s great. I really think it helps in terms of marketing.

I seem to do quite well on the SEO rankings. I get lots of hits from people who are simply interested in my content (my photos and multimedia of Appleby Horse Fair and of gypsies and travellers are drawing lots of people at the moment). I’ve created my business in such a way that I tend to work on a lot of self-initiated projects which I then sell on, rather than having editors approach me, but I think having a strong website gives me much more credibility when I pitch my ideas.

4. US journalist Tracy Boyer has this website that dates back to 2007.

She told Journalism.co.uk she wants to move to a WordPress site and away from Flash, as it cannot be displayed on Apple products, such as the iPad.

Don’t use Flash and the portfolio itself should be a CMS that is easy to update, such as WordPress and I suggest developing a portfolio in HTML5 and CSS5. My other piece of advice is to stay consistent with naming practices, as I was unable to do so and have noticed some confusion changing from tracynboyer.com to tracyboyer on Delicious, for example. Moreover, I am getting married this month so I also have to deal with changing my name and online identity to reflect my new name while not damaging the name recognition I have already built.

5. Fashion journalist Sarah-Jane designed this website (and it is more of a website than a portfolio).

She has had positive feedback and more than 100,000 hits.

She built the site herself using Photoshop and has been through various incarnations and designs, starting off with her own online magazine, which helped her build her name and brand. “Because I did it all myself I can add stories instantly,” she said.

She generates traffic and attention via social networking, particularly her public Facebook page, which has over 2,500 connections.

If you’re not good at web design then it’s worth investing in a good web designer as it will pay back, particularly in the fashion industry.

I don’t think I could manage without my website.

Five pieces of advice from the five journalists

1. Think about branding in terms of names and design and be consistent with your profiles, such as your name and identity on Twitter and Delicious;
2. Move towards HTML5 and away from Flash;
3. Use a CMS that allows you to easily update your portfolio, such as WordPress;
4. Keep it focused and sell yourself as a journalist;
5. Keep the design simple and clean and if you are not good at web design, invest in someone who is or use a standard template.

If you are building your own portfolio website then you will find this how to build a distinctive portfolio website with ease article useful.

Update 14/01/13: Sarah-Jane’s surname has been removed at her request.

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#Followjourn @alexwoodcreates /journalist

April 15th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

Who? Alex Wood

Where? Alex is a journalist at BBC World and co-founder of Not on the Wires.

Twitter? @alexwoodcreates

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to sarah.booker at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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‘There’s a killer app on your phone. It’s called a phone': Journalists talk mobile at CNN event

July 23rd, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Business, Events, Mobile, Online Journalism

Journalists from across all media platforms came together at the Frontline Club last night to discuss the impact of mobile on the newsroom and the wider media world.

“Mobile is as different to online as television is to radio,” CNN’s vice-president of mobile Louis Gump told the Frontline audience.

In the beginning people took someone who was sitting in the radio studio and put a camera on it. Then realised they didn’t have to do it that way. I think that’s what happening now.

He told Journalism.co.uk that the near future of mobile content needs to look at original content, rather than just using it as a new platform for existing material.

The biggest change I think will happen at CNN over the next two years is we are going to start creating content just for mobile devices. Right now most of what you see on a mobile from CNN you can also find on other platforms, but we will have more original programming.

The panel debate covered most of the ongoing issues surrounding mobile journalism, from the role a device plays in the image of a journalist to the debate over how such content should be used by ‘professional’ video journalists. Andy Dickinson, course leader of BA Digital Journalism Production at University of Central Lancashire, said it was a “mistake” to expect large news organisations to adopt the same production processes as smaller outlets.

I think it is a mistake to always be talking about what’s happening outside mainstream media, it won’t work for us. We can’t do it because of our agenda and personal and professional things get in the way of that. Now and then our big spotlight will land on it. But citizen journalism is not there to replace, it’s there to amplify.

Gump agreed, saying that the rise of citizen journalism “increases the value” of professional journalists, by “filling in the gaps”, but would not be a replacement: “We are still telling the hard news, [citizen journalism] enriches the overall offering”. Alex Wood, freelance mobile journalist and co-founder of Not on the Wires, added that mobiles were simply another platform to leverage the story. But he said in his own work, such as when he organised mass coverage of the G20 summit by mobile phones, the journalistic talent still had to shine through.

I always try to keep the integrity of the story and still worked very hard to make it journalistic. People tend to obsess about technology being one thing after another. Why not use your mobile phone to do your vox pops. There’s nothing wrong with you then putting that into a more traditional package. It’s another tool in the ever expanding toolkit that journalists have now. We can still take things from broadcast, for example framing a good shot and having good audio. Let’s go back to the basics but use them in the new technology.

He added that as a journalist using user generated content, old rules of fact-checking must still apply.

People can manipulate technology very easily and its still a worry. Journalists still need to pick up the phone and speak to the person if they have submitted media. We should always keep to those standards.

Jonathan Hewett, director of the newspaper journalism course at City University, agreed: “We are not going to chuck out the old stuff and forget the valuable lessons”. Prompting Dickinson to respond: “There’s a killer app on your phone that will allow you to check if something is right. It’s called your phone.”

Hewett said mobile has created opportunities for newspapers who do not have the visual reputation of a broadcaster, but more needs to be done.

Newspapers have been slower to catch up with more innovative stuff, but they are getting to realise mobile reporting is one way where a newspaper website can be different. It isn’t too fussed about quality of footage (…) We are still at early stage with mobiles full stop. We need to keep throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Wood commented near the end of the panel debate that he wanted to see more innovation from iPad apps, which he claimed had so far been “disappointing”, telling Journalism.co.uk to expect to see some exciting stuff from him in the near future.

CNN also announced the launch of a new international iPhone app featuring their iReport platform at the event. See our report here, and catch up with tweets from the event with the #cnnfrontline hashtag.

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not on the wires: What does the iPad offer working journalists?

June 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

Multimedia journalism collaborative not on the wires looks at what the iPad offers working journalists – the video below was originally published on the team’s website at this link.



Sit back and relax as Alex Wood from not on the wires takes you through the iPad’s top applications for media creators, not consumers.

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#ds10 – Follow the Digital Storytelling 2010 event

March 19th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Training

Journalism.co.uk is attending today’s Digital Storytelling conference – a free one-day event looking a new tools and techniques for multimedia and online journalism. If you’re interested in following the day, use the liveblog below or follow the hashtag #ds10 on Twitter. You can also watch live coverage using the video player below.

We’ll try to share the best bits of the day on the site.


Free video chat by Ustream

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New digital journalism project ‘not on the wires’ goes live

February 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism

not on the wires – the new digital journalism initiative Journalism.co.uk reported on last month – has gone live with a new website.

The group of journalists, which ran an innovative, multimedia project in November covering the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, will offer specialist training courses and is planning a ‘digital storytelling’ conference.

The team Alex Wood, Sheena Rossiter, Dominique van Heerden, Marco Woldt and Marcus Gilroy-Ware are seeking new opportunities for commercial and journalistic partnerships.

“We all work in different areas. It’s that whole sense that we’re entrepreneurial journalists – we’ve all got offshoots of the work we do, whether that’s web development or social media consulting,” Wood said of the Berlin Project in an interview in November.

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Journalism students as entrepreneurs

“Are traditional skills enough or do the new generation of journalists also need to be entrepreneurs?” asked Patrick Barkham in a Media Guardian feature today.

He cited examples of entrepreneurship, as preached by CUNY’s Jeff Jarvis, in journalism departments at various British universities.

Journalism.co.uk – rather an old ‘start-up’ at 10 years old, it must be said – got a mention, along with my comment that blogs and Twitter gave student journalists more opportunity than ever for a platform from which to get noticed.

But the real challenge of making money is rather more tricky than just getting heard, as the debate on today’s NUJ New Media email list indicated.

“Surely freelancers have always been entrepreneurs?” one contributor commented.

“Yes, journalists need to be taught about how business works and also how to manage people (how many journalists do you know who have made awful managers?) But that might be more appropriate to ongoing training than basic foundation courses,” added Journalism.co.uk’s founder John Thompson.

Alex Wood, City University alumni and a founder of the Berlin Project, thinks the entrepreneurial speak is ‘old news,’ saying that he and his student colleagues regularly made use of freelance opportunities, web design and online articles. “I’d say with most courses now over £10,000, becoming an ‘entrepreneur’ isn’t a skill, it’s a necessity (…) It’s a simple case of sink or survive and with huge debt around graduates necks these days, people are a lot more willing to fight.”

Meanwhile, multimedia and recently freelance journalist, Adam Westbrook, said that ‘this talk about journalists-as-entrepreneurs recognises a distinction between freelance journalism and entrepreneurship’.

“Yes, if freelancers run themselves as mini businesses there is some similarity, but I think its also about embracing the entrepreneurial spirit, looking for new markets and opportunities to exploit – seems a bit anti-journalism but that’s the game I think.

“And the ultimate journalism start-up is the one which cuts a profit and self sustains (ideally not through advertising alone), rather than living off grants or donations.”

Paul Bradshaw, lecturer at Birmingham City University and founder of the OnlineJournalismBlog, thinks the new approach does go beyond traditional methods; it’s a form of entrepreneurial journalism ‘that seeks to find new business models for journalism, rather than existing freelance journalism models,’ he said. “That could be anything from new forms of advertising, public funds, or platforms like iPhone apps etc.”

Join the debate and send your own examples, in the comments, or through Twitter (via @journalismnews):

  • How is the new journalistic entrepreneurship different from freelancing of present / yore?
  • Are journalism schools the right places to develop these skills? Or would students be better off in business school?

Entrepreneurship will be one of the topics tackled at our news:rewired conference on 14 January 2010. See http://newsrewired.com for more details. Tickets on sale now.

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Round-up: Media Futures conference 2009 – ‘Beyond Broadcast’

July 6th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events

“Gradually more power cuts – the future is more certain than you think (…) With 90 per cent certainty I can tell you that tomorrow will be Saturday.”
James Woudhuysen, professor of forecasting, De Montford University

“Content is not king, it’s about how people use it. SMS is one of the most expensive mediums but still massively popular.”
Matt Locke, commissioning editor, education new media, Channel 4

The above quotes were just a small sample of the varied and interesting points discussed at Media Futures 2009 in London last Friday.

The conference explored the future of the media as we move ‘beyond broadcast’.

Speakers and guests included the BBC’s Richard Sambrook, POLIS director Charlie Beckett and TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher.

Themes for discussion included desirable, feasible, challenging and viable futures for the industry.

Television
Video on Demand (VOD) was a popular topic, which divided opinions. Avner Ronen, founder of Boxee, a video service that connects your TV to online streaming media, argued that personal video recorders (PVR) were soon to be obsolete.

But as media analysts, including Toby Syfret from Enders, were quick to point out, TV still has a lot of life left in it. According to his analysis, despite the success of services such as the BBC iPlayer, watching streamed content remains a niche market with just 0.5 per cent of total viewing time being spent on computers.

Newspapers
Panellists were agreed on the future for local newspapers. Patrick Barwise, professor of management and marketing at London Business School said: “Local newspapers won’t come back, the classified advertising model that held them together has changed.”

After the conference I ran into Bill Thompson, the BBC’s technology columnist. Listen below to hear his views on the future for journalists:

Alex Wood is a multimedia journalist and social media consultant based in London. You can find him on twitter here.

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#FollowJourn: @alexwoodcreates/multimedia reporter

July 3rd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Alex Wood

Who? Multimedia reporter specialising in Japan, health, business and technology.

What? Has worked for Sky News Online, Homovision, BBC Online and Journalism.co.uk.

Where? @alexwoodcreates or alexwoodcreates.com.

Contact? freelance [at] alexwoodcreates ( dot ) com.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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Alex Wood: What does the #IranElection Twitter trend tell us?

Use of Twitter by mainstream media outlets has been much discussed in regards to recent reportage from Iran. Multimedia journalist Alex Wood provides a blog post with some good links and thoughts about hashtags and information spread. Particularly interesting is this part:

“[D]ig a little deeper into the statistics, and you find that over 50 per cent of tweets about IranElection are not first hand information. Twitter allows users to repeat other people’s tweets and send them on to their friends, who can then go on and repeat this to their friends. There is no control mechanism for fact or fiction and misinformation can spread quickly, especially in times of conflict.”

Full post at this link…

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