Getting to grips with online publishing: key lessons from Chris Wheal

Award-winning writer, editor, and teacher Chris Wheal taught budding journalists about online publishing by at the London School of Journalism this month.

In the first of a series of classes on online publishing platforms, Wheal spoke to the students about a number of topics, including:

  • the importance of having a good online presence;
  • the differences between print and online publishing;
  • the benefits and challenges of online publishing; and
  • search engine optimisation (SEO).

In the early part of the lecture, Wheal invited students to Google his name and see what they found, and also to Google search themselves and their neighbouring students. Students could find a lot of information about Wheal from his own website, where he was described as being an experienced writer, editor, blogger, and website creator who also provides media training to commercial companies and trains journalists and others in writing and online skills.

“As a modern journalist, you need to proactively make yourself easy to be found on Google,” said Wheal to the students. “You need to make your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles something worth reading.”

Wheal introduced students to the art and craft of blogging, and demonstrated how quick and easy it is to create a brand new blog, for free, on platform such as Blogger and WordPress. Some key lessons for the students included:

  • Be specific and mention key topics early, as web users scan rather than reading word-for-word;
  • Keep it short;
  • Write half as much as you would for print;
  • Bullet points work better than lists;
  • Use links to additional information.

In future lectures Wheal will teach students more skills which will enable them to create better blogs and take their online journalism skills to a higher level.

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