Online Journalists


Employment Prospects


Online journalists may work for publishing companies that only produce online publications, for traditional publishing companies that also have a Web presence, and for news organizations, research firms, or other businesses that have Web sites. Online journalists may also work as freelancers, writing articles for various companies and sites.

Companies involved in online publishing are located across the country; company sizes vary. While large and well-known companies, such as the New York Times, attract a large share of the online audience, the ease and affordability of online publishing is allowing many smaller companies to produce online publications.

Starting Out

To get started in this field, a budding journalist may want to write articles and attempt to get them published. The online market is more open to new, unpublished writers than traditional markets. One drawback is that many Web sites pay little or nothing for articles; however, they usually provide clips of published work, which helps a new writer build a portfolio and establish credibility.

Some online journalists believe that those interested in the career will benefit from starting out in print journalism and then transferring their skills to online journalism. Those starting out in either print journalism or online journalism usually begin in the position of editorial assistant. Although the editorial assistant job is relatively low paying, it will give you the opportunity to learn the business and usually provides you with your first writing assignments. Talented and hardworking assistants will typically work their way up to full-fledged reporters.

Your college career services office and journalism or communications department should be able to give you help with your job search. In addition, contacts that you make during an internship or summer job may provide employment leads. You can also apply for employment directly to publishing companies or other companies with Web publications. Use classified ads and the Internet as resources when looking for job openings.

Advancement Prospects

Some journalists believe it is easier to move through the ranks as an online journalist than as a traditional journalist working for a newspaper, TV station, or radio station. One reason for this is that online journalism is a relatively new and growing field offering many opportunities. Advancement will also depend on an individual's goals. A salaried journalist may consider it an advancement to do freelance work full time. A full-time freelancer may advance by publishing more articles and expanding his or her client base. Other advancements may mean a shift in career focus away from journalism. For example, an online journalist can advance from a writer to a content developer for a Web site. Another online advancement can include moving up to the position of editor or communications director, or working in multimedia and utilizing creativity and writing skills as a creative director.

Some online journalists advance their careers by transferring to the print medium and working their way up the ranks of a newspaper or magazine.

Tips for Entry

Visit https://dowjonesnewsfund.org/showcase/journalists-are-prepared to watch interviews with journalists who offer insights on the best ways to prepare for a journalism career.

Use your school journalism experience as a calling card when contacting local media outlets for summer positions or internships. The Dow Jones News Fund and other professional organizations provide information on internships at their Web sites.

Many local media outlets seek reader input and story tips, or you can submit unsolicited stories to your local media outlet.

Seek information interviews with those in a position to hire for either print or online publications. In this way you may be able to build up a list of contacts that can pay off down the road.

Visit https://careerbank.naa.org and https://www.ire.org/jobs for job listings. The Society of Professional Journalists also offers a job bank, but you must be a member to access this resource.