The art of creating an online portfolio

By Ashley Crockett

A screen shot of my portfolio
Every journalism student at the University of Missouri is required to have a portfolio to graduate. But there's more to crafting this online showcase of your work than just posting anything and everything on a page and calling it a day.

Before digging through all of your work, you first need to figure out what you are. Your emphasis area doesn't define you, but it can help narrow the list of potential self-appointed titles. "Multimedia journalist" is a popular go-to, but what about news curator? Anchor? Producer? Decide which of these best applies, so you can ensure your portfolio reflects that.

Now, what are you going to use to build this site? If you're comfortable putting in the time to code your own website and buying your own domain name, then go for it. However, most of us, myself included, need a more time-efficient (and cheaper!) alternative. Wordpress, Blogger, Weebly, Wix and are all great options. To choose one, read reviews, ask friends for a recommendation or experiment with them to see which best suits your needs.

Once you're ready to actually build your portfolio, start compiling the work you want to showcase. This portfolio should serve as the absolute best representation of you as a journalist, so I would encourage you to be as picky as you please. Use only those pieces that make you proud and that you think might impress a potential employer.

You should then be ready to sort your content by type -- videos, photographs, etc. If you've done several packages with different forms of media, consider including a section for those so everything can stay together. And if your work is available on an outlet's website, link to it -- but be vigilant that the link doesn't die.

Make sure the organization of the entire site, as well as the navigation on each page, is logical and easily understood. And don't forget your contact information! If you aren't comfortable sharing your mobile number online, set up a Google Voice number -- you can still receive calls (and even texts, if you choose) on your mobile, but with a bit more security.

Finally, the overall design should reflect something of your personality without going overboard. Although a black-and-white color scheme is classic, don't be afraid to add some colors or a background pattern.

If you have any other portfolio website recommendations, share them in the comments below!


  1. Wondering what others have used for showcasing a variety of PDF files, e.g. thumbnails of one's clips from various publications?

  2. Kendra S-L - Here are a couple portfolio sites using thumbnails to preview a specific piece of work. While these don't link to PDFs, you could very easily do so!