Journalism Portfolios: Advice from the Pros

The following comments on student portfolios come from conversations with digital journalists and hiring managers on both Twitter and Facebook. The question posed: What are the “must do’s” and “please don’ts” for young journalists showcasing themselves for potential employers.

Steve Buttry of Digital First Media offers the following examples:

Find a way to illustrate your skills.

Use social media to show off.

Use interactive tools to track your career.

There is more than one way to do that.

“I should stress that content is more important than presentation. The flair just helps ensure that I take a closer look at the substance you’re giving me. The substance seals the deal.” – Steve Buttry


Here’s more from Facebook:

Things that should be included:

“Evidence that they had to do something that wasn’t fun or self-aggrandizing.” – Tom Farmer

“Must do: find stories outside what you know.” – Andy Dickinson

“Spelling, grammar, punctuation, freedom from passive voice/clichés.” – Robin Kemp

Not about portfolios, but damned good advice:

“If it’s news job I would call them up out of the blue and ask to tell you right there on the spot the three top stories in their local news market on the day.” – Wojciech Treszczynski

“Ask them their thoughts of a news event – if they give you an opinion – say goodbye. If they give you facts – they have a good start and have had good teachers.” – Lisa Henry

Several of the professionals I talked to mentioned the importance of a journalist’s digital footprint. The most frequently mentioned advice: Remove all questionable, “improper” photos and videos from social media accounts, video and photo sharing sites and personal websites.

Finally there’s this: