You’ll start to develop your own professional voice and personality by creating a portfolio website that carries the brand you’re developing for yourself out to the world.

Your Task: Develop a website that brands yourself, populating it with your work and commentary on issues related to class, journalism, advertising, public relations, marketing or other related fields.


    • Watch this portfolio site training video

  • Establish a free WordPress site for yourself at http://wordpress.com (you are required to use WordPress)
  • Check out this WordPress tipsheet for creating your blog
  • Complete entries and assignments each week throughout the semester
  • Use your WordPress site to define and brand yourself in your field of interest, such as adding your resume, work samples, an “about” page and widgets or links (e.g., Twitter feed, Facebook page). You’ll follow a series of weekly deadlines — everything is due Wednesday by 11:59 p.m. — through Week 12 to add all of your branding elements to the site.
  • Once you have created your portfolio site, fill out this form to submit your URL
  • There are no word limits on blog posts for your site. The length of your post should be based on what you’re writing about and how you’re presenting yourself (are you providing in-depth analysis? quick, funny hits? opinion? information?) In general, it would be uncommon for your blog posts to exceed 700 words. (For some tips, check out what The Media Handbook has to say about writing blog posts.)

Deadlines for required elements:

  • Week 2:  Site created, URL submitted via Google Form
  • Week 3: Resume posted — make a version for posting online that doesn’t include your address (for safety purposes)
  • Week 4: Contact info posted — this should be posted separately from the contact information at the top of your resume
  • Week 5: First blog post due  — go to the Storytelling Inspiration tab on the Schedule and Readings spreadsheet. These are well-told stories curated from suggestions offered by J-School alumni and communications professionals. Select any story from this list that engages you. It’s not necessary to read, watch or listen to them all. But you have to find one that really sticks with you. In your post, analyze why. What about this story made you think, feel, react? How did it hook you? Why does it last? How did it challenge you? What might you have done differently? You should aim to write about 500 words.
  • Week 6: At least one media element posted, such as a photo or image to help create your personal brand
  • Week 7: Link to LinkedIn profile (and other social media accounts) added
  • Week 8: Second blog post due: Who inspires you as a communicator? Why? What does that person do that you want to emulate? Again you should aim for 500 words.
  • Week 9: Create an alternative story form telling the “story of you.” This week we will be covering ASFs in depth, and you will use one of two tools — Timeline JS or StoryMap JS — to tell a compelling story about yourself. You’ll have some time during lecture and lab that week to help you focus your story. IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember when I said everything is due Wednesday by 11:59 p.m.? Well, for this one, you’ll have until Friday at 11:59 p.m. so you have more time to make it extra awesome.
  • Week 10: Professional practice blog posts due — you must post TWO: The J-School periodically presents research and practitioner talks, career panels and other events, and you are required to attend two of these during the semester (attending more counts for Professional Practices extra credit). For EACH event you attend, write a blog post with five takeaways or things you learned from the event or the person who spoke — keep it super simple (a short introduction followed by five bullet points would be fine). We’ll post a calendar of upcoming events on the front page of the site, and you should keep an eye on your email for any notices, too (they’ll be included in the weekly email, for one).
  • Week 11: Work samples added. Note: You cannot use any writing samples from the fictional in-class assignments — instead you should use pieces from your IS or final project or things you’ve done for internships or student organizations.  You want to show off your original work, and you don’t want to let other students potentially copy your assignments.
  • Week 12: Website complete with all required elements — it’s up to you to be sure the right URL is listed on the Portfolio Site spreadsheet and be sure it’s set to public. (You should share it with a family member to check, because you’ll lose points if I can’t access it.)

Deadlines: The deadline for ALL portfolio blog assignments is Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. If you have not posted something when we check for it after a deadline, you will lose 10 points from the overall portfolio blog score.

Approach: Think before you begin this task and consider how you want to present yourself online. This affects everything from how you name your site (stacyforster.wordpress.com vs. spacystacy.wordpress.com) to the voice you use in your posts. You are required to make your site fully public (though you should talk to me if you would like to tackle a sensitive subject in a post and make it private). How do you want the world to see you? What personality attaches to your work? What would a potential employer think of your site? What would your grandma think? Do you currently use Twitter professionally or do you need to define a new account for yourself?

Grading: This assignment is worth 10 percent of your final course grade, and here’s how the grading will break down:

  • Overall branding impression of your site: 20 points
  • Blog posts: 20 points each
  • Event attendance post: 10 points
  • Alternative story form: 10 points
  • Other elements: 20 points
        • contact info: 2 points
        • resume: 10 points
        • work samples: 5 points
        • media element: 2 points
        • LinkedIn profile: 1 point