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Breaking into the web

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by gosox, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. gosox

    gosox New Member

    Ive been thinking lately of taking some type of web design/development course that might help me make a jump to the web side of journalism in the future. Anyone out there who has done this? If so, any advice on what type of course to take or if it's worthwhile at all. Appreciate the help.
  2. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    Start doing some reading on basic HTML and CSS. There are intro-level guides to it out there. From there, the best way to learn is by rolling up your sleeves and diving in.

    Build your own website using a free server, or go to a place like 1and1.com and get a cheapo $4/month plan for some server space and a domain name, then build.

    Toy around with things. Copy source code from other sites, then tinker with it to learn what parts make what move.
  3. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I've managed to be somewhat successful on the web for the past two years without formally learning any HTML or CSS. I've just picked up a bit of it here or there. I've brushed up on Photoshop and that's pretty much all that is needed.

    I've interviewed for my share of web positions and none had required that I know how to build pages. In fact, the last job I interviewed for they wanted someone with better editing skills than computer skills, so you never know.
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I have some basic HTML skills gained through a previous job, and now, am in the process of going through a computer-graphics and multi-media course through adult-ed that is hands-on and self-paced, and should provide a working knowledge of just about everything out there by the time you finish in a year or so (depending on your pace).

    It covers everything from basic Microsoft Word to PhotoShop, Illustrator, In Design, Mac, Flash, After Effects Pro, Premiere, 3D Studio Max, Final Cut, PowerPoint and HTML/Web production and site building, and should open possible doors to many more publication, television, film, studio and animation jobs. (I hope).

    This was all stuff I hoped to learn on the job, but alas, I haven't been able to get a regular one lately. So, wanting to and trying hard to do something productive with my time, I decided to go this route, and see if it may help.

    I'm sure it will, eventually. But now, I'm basically working (when I can), job-hunting, and trying to do this as fast as possible, and it isn't easy. There are a lot of hours/projects/tests involved for completion of the program, but, basically, you're supposed to be able to do it in about a year or a little more than that, if you work on it at a pace of about 25-30 hours a week.

    Right now, I'm still in the early stages of it, and we'll have to see yet whether I'll have the time or money to end up getting all the way through. I hope so, though.
  5. Desk_dude

    Desk_dude Member

    An awful lot to learn in Web design with Photoshop, Dreamweaver, HTML, Flash, Java as well as a working knowledge of Illustrator and InDesign.

    You'd probably need to take these courses fulltime for a year to understand it. And then you will need experience to get a fulltime job designing Web pages. Most of the learning is technical and not too much what makes a website look good.

    But there is money to be made in freelance.

    Personally, I think you don't need to learn that much of this to work on the news side of the online. I think more important skills are editing, writing, reporting, speed, news judgment.
  6. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    For sure you don't actually need to learn everything in order to do most of the work required at newspapers, Web sites or other media outlets.

    What I cited is just what's involved in the program in which I enrolled. There may be others around with more, or less, work involved.

    I know I can already tell I wouldn't necessarily need it all. But it's all part of what's offered in completing the course and gaining certification, which is offered when course work for each discipline is completed.

    I'd prefer to just get a job, and just learn/know what I need to know, and not waste time on a bunch of stuff I may not need...But alas, there's that pesky part about actually getting a regular job.

    The good thing, though, is that if one does complete this program or one like it, there probably will be lots of other possibilities for you besides just newspapers/Web sites.
  7. Boyznblu80

    Boyznblu80 Member

    HTML coding, InDesign and Photoshop are pretty easy to learn. I'm not talking myself up but they just are. If there's anything I gained in college besides building my writing skills, it's the technical side of it as well. And Final Cut is pretty fun to use. I've made a few short films for school with it. Highly recommended. The textsbook for the class was pretty funny. " Adobe CS3 for Dummies (CS4 is out now)" and "Final Cut For Dummies." I thought the professor was joking when he gave us the textbook listing but, in the end, I can't say how useful those books are if you want to learn it.
  8. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's all easy to learn. (Believe me, I'm glad about that, too).

    And that's why papers ought to just train the employees they have. But then, they wouldn't be able to get rid of you, and eliminate some positions, while bringing in someone cheaper for others.

    And, not everyone learns all the different things there are out there to learn anyway. Their need for a job/income is so pressing that there is, literally, no time to take to do it.

    People do reach a point where all they want, and need, is some income. Seriously.

    And after a while, they couldn't care less whether the money comes from the New York Times, or from Wal-Mart.

    It can get to be that pressing, and people in that situation don't want to -- probably because the situation has taken so much out of them -- and don't feel like they have the time to, go back to school, and thus, expend more time, all for a future they're not sure they even really want, anyway.

    Really, some of you have no clue how someone's perspective can change.
  9. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Shouldn't it be "hacking" into the web.
  10. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    I'm looking into certificate web design programs in my hometown.

    It covers all the basics -- HTML, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc. -- but is that enough knowledge given the job market?
  11. Speedbump

    Speedbump New Member

    Create a "web presence" on WordPress. It's so darn easy, it makes you look like an online rockstar. (You won't even need HTML or CSS, although if you know it, it will allow you to enhance what you have going. But remember, you can often find what you need, HTML-wise at least, by just googling HTML generators and typing in what you are looking for.)

    Because it is a blog format, it is much more appealing for SEO than a standard web site. Way cheaper and far less of a headache, too. You can also direct it toward a domain name of your choice. So instead of yourname.wordpress.com, for a small fee, you can have yourname.com but use Wordpress as your CMS.

    Community colleges and university extension programs can offer courses of interest, but be careful. You don't need to be bogged down with tons of technical details -- I always tell people learning enough Flash to make a jumping elephant may make you a hit at parties, but is mostly useless in journalism circles. You need to only know how it would apply to you as a media professional, so don't waste money/time messing with other stuff. So of it is so darn technical, you'll either get frustrated or bogged down in stuff that won't help you now.

    Great tutorials on all things digital media can be found at lynda.com. It is a subscription site, but so worth it.
  12. Hustle

    Hustle Guest

    Agreed. I've made it through HTML/XHTML, CSS and the holy-shit-I-know-absolutely-nothing-about-Flash course. I'm currently on SEO, which is a full nine hours.
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