By: Carl Sullivan

Print, Online Journalists Experiment With Web Sites

Joe Mullich writes about computers and the Internet a lot, but he
doesn’t have a personal Web site. ‘All my writer friends who have put
up Web sites tell me they have never gotten one assignment or even a
nibble from it,’ says the 10-year free-lancer who’s written for the
likes of the Los Angeles Times and Business Week . ‘That’s a zilch
across the board.’

But many writers, particularly online journalists, find good reasons to
publish personal sites. Dave Jackson says he’s received several
assignments, out of the blue, from editors who found his Web site
( on their own. ‘Do you think I’m going to
take away this avenue of self-promotion and marketing?’ he asks. ‘Not a

Pamela Wilfinger, editor of Inscriptions
(, a weekly Webzine for
professional writers, adds, ‘If you want to work for an online market,
it makes sense to have your clips available on a Web site for potential
employers to see. Online publishers tend to be wary of [e-mail]
attachments, and surfing to a Web site is much more convenient.’

Anne E. Cerva, a guide for who also writes for the Midland
(Mich.) Daily News , says, ‘It’s been essential to send a link to my
r?sum? and clips online because so many editors don’t want

Christine A. Reed, Webmaster of (,
says it’s good experience for a writer to create and experiment with
her own site. ‘It certainly leads to a better understanding of the
workings of the Web, from HTML to marketing and search engines,’ she
says. Reed suggests that writers put their URL on their business cards
and e-mail signatures. ‘Don’t expect it to totally replace the old
methods of networking or marketing, but it gives people the option of
learning more about you and your work.’

Some writers even use their Web sites to weed out technologically-

inefficient editors. ‘If they aren’t sophisticated enough to be able to
click on my site and navigate it to find what they want, then they
might not be editors for whom I want to work,’ says Caron Golden
(, who’s written for the Los Angeles Times
and San Diego Union-Tribune , and is past president of the San Diego
Press Club.

Print writers migrating to the Web can particularly benefit from
building a site. Former newspaperman Gene Gorman says, ‘A lot of my
better paying jobs are starting to come from online work, and it will
help to communicate with these potential employers in a way they
understand.’ And if a journalist has no intention of joining
cyberspace, he can still provide access to print clips online. Gorman
scanned his newspaper clips and posted them on his site.

Gorman’s site is more than just clips. ‘It’s really hard to show much
personality through a stiffly bound packet of clips and resumes,’ he
says. So on his Web site (, visitors will
find photos of his hound and Gorman dressed as a Teletubbie for
Halloween. ‘I think it will help my chances of getting work when a
potential employer comes to my site, starts roaming around, and
discovers, ‘Hey, this guy really does have a wife and a mortgage.’ The
technology shows my humanity – kind of a counter-intuitive notion.’

Gorman’s brother-in-law helped put his site together, but constructing
your own site is getting a lot easier. Many Internet Service Providers
offer free space and the tools to put sites together.

Jay Campbell of Bridge News wire service, created a site at Earthlink
( His online r?sum?
includes links to clips from his previous job. ‘When you’re applying
for jobs, editors think it’s very impressive,’ he says.

Danielle Sweeney, who writes a weekly column for, says
her site ( attracts
editors who want to see her work. She admits the site is ‘plain,’ but
says, ‘I find few editors are interested in my design skills.’

Wilfinger created a clips Web site
( using Adobe Pagemill 3.0, but
many have created their pages with Netscape Composer.

Web startups like ( of New York will
even do the job for you. The site allows small businesses, including
free-lance journalists, to establish free mini Web sites. (A premium
version costs $19.95 per month.) ‘We’ve designed our services for
people who have content they want to share, but don’t want to work with
HTML or the technical side of the Web,’ says Jeff Abraham, co-CEO.

So being a Web newbie isn’t an excuse for not having a site. ‘I’m
always amazed at free-lance writers and artists who don’t take
advantage of the Web to present their work,’ says Gil Asakawa, director
of content at and a column writer for Rocky Mountain
Jiho , a bilingual Japanese newspaper. ‘All the stuff I post online
helps me with my career goals, and it’s so easy to maintain. It ain’t
necessarily pretty, but it gets the job done.’


Carl Sullivan ( ) is editor of Editor &
Publisher Online.

Related story from Content Exchange (not related to E&P Online):


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