What To Do After The NCTJ’s pt 3 Portfolio

In the third of this week’s “what to do next” series I am going to be looking into the need of a portfolio for any recently graduated or qualified journalist.

During your journalism education you should have been provided with ample opportunity to write some stories and also to be published. During this time you would be well advised to keep these articles somewhere safe in order to create a portfolio of your work after you graduate.

During my NCTJ course I was asked to keep both my originally submitted copy and the published version so markers could see how much editing was needed for my copy. This is a great idea, though not advised for every single article you write, and really shows editors your skill in writing.

A portfolio can take many forms. Some look to blogs as a “rolling portfolio”, one that it is constantly changing with regular updates. Others choose to create websites in their own name to showcase the work they have done. Many, however just stick to the good old fashioned cutting and sticking into a ring binder or presentation book.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to make a portfolio and each one has their merits. As I mentioned in the first post of the series blogging is a great way of keeping your writing smooth and shows that you can write to a specific audience. A web based portfolio can give your work a real professional touch, if done well, and also showcases some more web based talents that could impress future employers. Finally, a paper based portfolio is always to hand and can be great to show off in an interview when a laptop or computer isn’t always available.

If you get the chance, develop all three. There can never be too many ways to put yourself in the shop window and time spent on your portfolio could be the difference in getting a job in the future.

The key to a good portfolio is presentation. This is your work, your pride and joy, so present it accordingly. There is nothing worse than a great story being viewed at a glance as a bit slap dash because the page wasn’t glued down fully, for example.

Another great tip is to include a little explanation (no more than a sentence or two) of how you came about the story. This is something else I have learnt through the NCTJ and shows people your enthusiasm for news and your ability to search out a story.

If you need any more tips on how to make a paper based portfolio you can’t far wrong with this guide on eHow.com.

Or if the online stuff suits you more check out this article on journalism.co.uk

Tune back in on Monday for the next post on making yourself available.


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