Use J-term to make an online portfolio

post by Lindsay Susla

If you’re not planning to take a class this J-term, you may be unsure what to do with the six weeks off school looming ahead of us.  Use that time to learn a new skill, update your resume, or make a website or blog to showcase your writing clips and portfolio.  When it comes time to apply for internships, you will be glad to have this fabulous way to showcase the work you’ve done, as well as show off your web and technology skills.


Here are a few links to help you get started on a portfolio website:

Poynter News University offers a tutorial on WordPress for Beginners, which will walk you through creating the site, picking themes, and managing your blog, among other tips and tricks.

Incorporate social media so visitors can see you’re tuned in online and understand how to market yourself.  Linking social media platforms with your portfolio blog will allow you to do some cross-promotional work and send more traffic to both.

Issuu allows you to upload PDFs and create an online portfolio in a few quick steps.  Perfect for designers who want to upload InDesign PDFs or large images, the final project is a virtual book layout.

Lastly, choose photos that will complement your posts, or if you are posting your own designs or pictures, make sure that if they posted other places, they will link back to your site and increase traffic.

Does anyone else have tips for journalism students with free time?


6 responses to “Use J-term to make an online portfolio

  1. I think it’s a wonderful idea to work on your skills during the winter break and take the time to make a portfolio. It’s one of those things that sneaks up up on you, and then you are scrambling to put one together at the last minute.

    I think a long break is a good time to try to learn something that you’ve wanted to do, but never found the time. Six-weeks is a good place to start on new skills and experiment with new ideas. Also, the long break is a good time to catch up with as much reading as you can. There’s never enough time to read non-coursework writing during your college time. When you get a job, you won’t want to spend all your free time on your job too.

    Most of all, take the time to play. You may not get a long break like this with nothing to do for a long time.

  2. Thanks for the web links. Google has a fairly user friendly way to create a website if you don’t use one of the links listed above – or if you haven’t tried Dreamweaver yet, it is fairly intuitive as far as working kind of like other word processing programs like word. It comes with Adobe Creative Suite and has commands such as insert link to just click on and it writes the code for you – which google does also with its webpage program – similar to the commands we have used with wordpress.

  3. I like this post, because it reminds me… I have 6 weeks coming up where I will have almost nothing to do. It might be worth spending my time doing something worthwhile. In general, I think investigating for potential internships and preparing for the application process would be worth the time. I have a couple things for next semester in my sights, and this winter break I will start investigating when applications are due, what the applications entail, and how I can prepare/update my resume to reflect what is needed for the application process.

  4. I made a website last summer and am so glad that I did. Wanting to work in digital, I think it really helps my resume stand out. I took J105 to make it and I would suggest that someone take that class or looks through a lot of online tutorials before starting. I think another thing that journalists can do over j-term is update their resumes. I know that mine is looking rough right now. Even if it has the most current information it’s always good to add an extra design element to it.

  5. Kenzie, I took 105 as well, and I found it extremely beneficial. I think having some kind of web design experience is really valuable in today’s world, even if you can point to a simpler blog-based website you’ve made, it shows that you understand how to present things online, and (maybe) how to do a little coding.

    As far as internships go, that was something I looked into writing about as well. I wish there were more J-term options for internships, but it would be hard to get acclimated to a new work environment only to leave shortly after. Looking into options for spring or summer would be a great use of time over J-term too.

  6. I think that this is a great idea for those who don’t have it started. It was on my to-do list LAST winter break, and I never got to it somehow. Ha. But I took J105, and that has been a saving grace. Learned so much about portfolios, building an online presence, and getting your name out there.

    Another thing for Jschool students to do over break should be to READ. Read anything that interests you. It doesn’t matter if it is specifically aligned with you major, in the end if you read something unique it’s a great conversation starter and a way to set yourself apart from others!

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