Ed Driscoll

So You Want to be a Journalist...

Advice columnist Penelope Trunk, dubbed “the world’s most influential guidance counselor” by Inc. Magazine has some suggestions for those who wish to write for a living:


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 [so that] 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.


Now, if you also want to be a pundit, then don’t miss Andrew Klavan’s easy to follow recommendations as well:

And if you want to disseminate news that also reaches the port side of the Blogosphere, you might to employ the “Made You Look” news distribution system.

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