SmartRecruiters Blog

The Emerging Skills Needed for Online Journalism

In my talk with Marc Samson, he discusses the challenges of hiring talent in journalism, how this poses problems for seasoned and up and coming journalists, and why he help found Pressfolios because of it.

The news market has become saturated and competitive, with the news media struggling to support the many journalists in the industry. “There is more news created today than there ever has been. There are more readers of news than there ever has been in the past. Ironically at the same time, there is less money being made by the news industry,” says Samson.

The market for news is evolving; there are less traditional journalism jobs while more news is being consumed. The evolving demand for news creates a challenge for the employer to decide what kind of worker they need, and for the worker to describe what they bring to a news organization.

“We want to make it possible for every journalist to take control of their work and their personal brand. That is truly our mission,” explains Pressfolios co-founder Marc Samson.

Samson is no stranger to the plight of writing professionals. As a former freelance media relations professional who later grew a consultancy of his own, Samson soon realized there wasn’t a way for him to easily and cleanly showcase his writings to new clients. Building off this revelation, he teamed up with programmer and co-founder Dan Kauffman to create Pressfolios, an online portfolio for journalists, reporters, writers, copywriters, bloggers, and public relations professionals.

And how do journalists show they can be the right one? That’s the question Pressfolios aims to help answer. Samson expresses the advantages and disadvantages facing old and new journalists. He states that while older, classically trained journalists have 15-20 years of experience, they are up against younger professionals who have knowledge of emerging technologies and technical expertise, such as coding HTML or CSS. Yet younger journalists don’t have the experience and networking resources necessary to break into the industry.

Pressfolios seeks to balance this dilemma between generations with three features: a personal repository, cloud storage, and a website builder. Pressfolios love journalists who can code. However for those who can’t, Pressfolios makes it easy to automatically pull online clips from various websites into a repository and provides advance content management tools to organize and keep track of your work.

Samson says Pressfolio is geared towards digital and technically inclined journalists, and young journalists in college or coming out of college. Journalists who are beginning to have clips and thinking about how to keep track and access them, and how to build a portfolio to make the jump to their first or second job, or start a freelance career. As Pressfolio expands its features, it will be relevant and applicable to a wider range of journalists.

To that end, Samson stresses the importance of having a strong online presence and developing your personal brand. “Even though we all realize we’re likely to work for 10, 15, 20, maybe 30 employers over the course of our career,” explains Samson, “A lot of people will think of themselves as employees when they should think of themselves as sole proprietors.”

For this reason, it is Pressfolios’s philosophy to help all journalists leverage their talent through its platform.

“If you’re able to keep track of your work over the course of your career and you’re able to show it off, we truly believe you are going to be more successful. You’re going to do a better job overall in your professional development,” says Samson.

Pressfolios is taking aim at the unemployment gap one portfolio at a time. How do you see Pressfolios changing the way news creators are hired?

Laura Hong

Laura Hong is a Media and Public Relations graduate student at the University of the Pacific, and the social media intern at SmartRecruiters.