Journalists who need an online portfolio of clips, pronto - Are you about to get laid off? Just fired? - might want to consider cuttings.me.
The free online portfolio site, launched by journalist Nicholas Holmes, promises to get your story clips up on a personalized page up in minutes so editors can see your work.
The idea is timely: in the U.S., newspaper editorial layoffs increased from 30% from 2010 to 2011. IJNet talked to Holmes about why you should trust his site and the litmus test for would-be journalist entrepreneurs.
IJNet: What's the advantage of using cuttings.me versus your own blog, website, tumblr or similar?
Nicholas Holmes: Cuttings.me takes just a few minutes to set up and customize, so you immediately have an attractive page that lists your title, bio and social media links -- it's much faster. It's also designed to be far easier to keep up to date, a problem many people have with blogs or regular websites. Adding a clip, complete with picture, is really easy and journalists can rearrange the order to suit their preference, grouping clips or sorting them by date etc. It's this flexibility that I found was lacking from more advanced blog solutions out there.
IJNet: Is there backup for the profiles, in case you shut the site or it goes dark for some reason?
NH: Cuttings.me uses Amazon web services (just like sites such as Airbnb, Quora, Tweetdeck and Yelp) so this kind of incident should be mercifully rare -- multiple backups are taken regularly too. I don't envision closing the service - it's proved far too popular!
IJNet: What advice would you give to journos who are interested in jumping into something entrepreneurial?
NH: I can only speak from a technology point of view, but assuming entrepreneurs are there to solve problems, I would say the first question should normally be 'would I use this?' -- if the answer is a firm 'yes', as it was in my experience, then you know you have something worth dwelling on. I then took the idea to the people I knew would be my target market (not friends and family) and asked them, and when I got the same answer, the idea gained a little more currency. So I had a good idea of the need, I knew that I'd enjoy doing it, and so continuing seemed to be a no-brainer.
Then it was a case of building, which for many, will be the trickiest aspect. Key reading here is around building a minimum viable product -- Silicon Valley buzzwords, but it basically means putting something together that can prove your concept without breaking the bank (time-wise or money-wise) and so limiting the risks associated with developing your idea. The first version of cuttings.me was ridiculously simple, but it proved popular enough that I realized it was worth pursuing. It's grown ever since, but I've been careful to solicit user feedback along the way to make sure that with each iteration of the product, cuttings.me is on the right path towards solving the problems that inspired it in the first place.
Launched in October 2011, cuttings.me currently hosts some 2,000 journalist profiles. You can check it out here.