I never meant to be a web editor, it sort of just happened to me. At my first magazine internship, I was assigned to the web editor although I knew nothing about Content Management Systems or how to edit content on a website. After that, I continued to get web internships with only a couple of print experiences in the middle and when I applied for jobs after graduating, the only responses I got were from magazine websites or online magazines.
It’s a well known fact that most magazines and newspapers resisted the digital publishing movement as long as they could’ve, so when I graduated 2.5 years ago, my skills were highly coveted even if online journalism wasn’t yet considered ‘glamorous’. But, in two years a lot has changed. I had friends at print magazines who felt sort of bad for the fact that I had to work online because I couldn’t get a job in print and I also had friends and family members outside of publishing that didn’t really understand what I was doing because my name wasn’t on the masthead of a big-time publication that they recognized.
But now I have more and more people asking me how to get into online journalism and most people seem to think that I’m this tech wiz (even fellow online editors!) when in reality I just recently learned keyboard shortcuts! What I do know is how to assess the usability of a good website and how to get around Content Management Systems and how to promote traffic and that’s all through pure experience.
A part of my duties at my new job is figuring out all the kinks of our brand new website and I am amazed every day at how much I actually know. CMS’s have come a long way from the first one I worked on at my first internship, (everything had to be hand-coded in HTML!) and it really isn’t that tough to become a web editor.
Even after my first full time job as an editorial assistant at a national magazine’s website, I was dying to work in print. After I got laid off, I freelanced for a huge women’s magazine and all my fantasies about a glamorous print job were dispelled.
Here are all the reasons why I’m glad I fell into online journalism:
– It pays a hell of a lot better.This might start to change as more and more journalists pick up web skills but as for now any online experience works in a much better paycheck.
– You can gain experience quickly.Since websites are updated much more frequently than publications are, there’s always a need for new content. Even as an EA, I had a ton of work published simply because I was available to do it.
– More room for creativity. Slideshows, blogs, videos, articles, quizzes, polls–there are so many ways to produce content and the more you know about multimedia the better!
– More jobs are available. If I was still looking for a print job, I’d still be sustaining on unemployment checks. The online craze has only recently just started to catch on so not that many people are qualified yet. On top of that, there are more jobs created in new media than anywhere else.
– More freelance opportunities. If you’ve worked as a magazine web editor, you can also get work copywriting retail and business websites.