In his advice to journalism students, Robert Niles says the Internet has transformed reporting to a point where they should be thinking about their published work online as a journalism career already begun:
Immediate access to a global publishing medium allows any source to become a breaking news reporter, if only for just a moment. You’re going to journalism school to help you improve the journalism career you’ve already begun, not to launch it.
He says building an audience now is the best way to differentiate yourself when looking for jobs. From the perspective of an editor making a hiring decision:
Do you take the one with the great clips and enthusiastic recommendations? Or the one with the great clips, enthusiastic recommendations, and the 5,000 daily unique visitors to her video blog?
Given that traffic becomes your traffic once you hire her, you take the second student. Every single time. So be that second student. Start building your audience now.