After moving house, I decided there’s too much paper in my life. At an estimate, paper made up a third of the weight shifted between houses.

Going completely paperless is neither possible or desirable. But I can cut my paper use by 90 percent. Recycling most of my existing paper is a reasonable goal.

After 30 years as a journalist I have boxes full of newspaper cuttings, magazines and other portfolio material. It runs to many filing cabinets.

A journalist’s portfolio is an important work record. It’s invaluable when finding new work – particularly now I’m a freelance writer.

The portfolio also has a wealth of useful information, story ideas and memory-joggers.

Paperless, not perfect

I scanned and stored my old clippings. Reduced the inevitable duplication and generally tidied up. Scanning takes ages – I don’t expect to finish for many months yet.

One lesson I learnt early on is to not be too fussy about scan quality. It needs to be neat and tidy, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Another lesson is to store scanned material as PDFs. They are more compact and easier to use than TIFF or other file formats.

Perhaps the hardest part of converting my portfolio to a digital format is sharing. I can mail prospective clients examples of stories, but having material for casual browsers is difficult because web hosts charge by the MB for storage and I’m only allowed so much traffic a month. Big PDFs quickly chew through my quota.

I’d be interested to hear of ways other paperless journalists are storing their portfolios.

6 thoughts on “My paperless work portfolio

  1. One thing that could help is smaller PDFs.

    My workflow is to create a PDF file from a PostScript version of the file I want. It may only be a Mac thing, but I can significantly reduce the PDF file size by this method without sacrificing much quality.

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