In which I provide some tips for writers who have stories published online, don’t already have a portfolio site, and who think there’s a chance that the site that has all the stuff they’ve written might shut down and disappear from the internet.
In my college days back in the 90s I used to photocopy my clips. I’m sure people still do that. Photocopying is easy — it’s just paper, getting copied to another piece of paper. Clips online? More complex. Caveat: I’m coming at this from a “I know a lot about online and this is what I would do if I were in this situation” angle, not a “I am a reporter looking for another job as a reporter and this is what I’ve found success in doing.”
There are two main ways to save your online work: saving the words, and saving how it looked.
Saving the words of your clips
This is useful in case you someday create an online portfolio of your work. It’s also useful for creating things like a PDF collection of your clips. Saving the words makes sure you don’t have to resort to scanning or retyping the printed version of your work just so you have something that plays nice on a computer. Go find your work. Select the text, copy it and paste it. If your article spans multiple pages, then the printer-friendly version is your friend. I would paste the text into a Microsoft Word or Open Office document, and save it. Make sure the date the piece was published is included in the information you save. If you have a lot of clips, I would save each in its own document. If you don’t, putting them all in one doc oughta be fine.
If there are photos, copy and paste the photos w/ captions into the Word doc, at the end of the article. If you’re technically inclined or a perfectionist, I recommend saving the photos to the folder you’re saving the documents with your words in them, adding the caption information to the file’s EXIF data, and using this naming convention for the photo: SLUGNAME20090114.jpg, where the date would be the publish date of the article.
Saving how your clip looked
This goes in tandem with the words, and it’s proof that some day in the future, after the NY Times is dead and gone, that you really did pen that piece for the NYT. The best way to prove this is to take a screenshot of your article. There is screenshot software out there, and I’ve used most of them. The best way to save a screenshot of a web page is the firefox browser plugin Pearl Crescent Pagesaver (note: if you don’t have firefox get it get it get it). Pagesaver takes a shot of the entire page, not just the visible portion. It does a lot of other things. It’s free (though there is a paid version, with extra geek functionality). It made my screenshot-making life a panoply of rainbows and happiness.
I recommend keeping the filename pagesaver suggests, and prepend the filename with the year-month-date that the article ran (such as 20090114, if it ran January 14th of 2009). This makes it easier to sort and to find your screenshots.
Hope this helps,
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