For this week’s post, I had the pleasure of talking to fellow Cape May enthusiast and blogger, Rachel Shubin. Rachel Shubin, a 25 year old Virginia native, told me about her two primary loves in this world: journalism and Cape May. She explained how those two worlds merged together when she moved from her hometown of Fairfax, Virginia to her family’s favorite tourist destination: Cape May, New Jersey. Prior to her big move, she graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a concentration in journalism. Although she knew that moving away from Washington D.C. might bring her some difficulty in building a journalism career, she was determined to reach her goals (and determined to avoid D.C. traffic).
So, as of February 2020, Rachel will have officially been living (and simultaneously freelancing) in Cape May for 3 whole years. Moreover, she has been working on her digital site, Cape May Rachel, since a month after she first got here. Although the site originally began as an outlet for more personal pieces, by July of 2017 – only 4 months after its creation – her digital work began to shift more toward local events. This work included events like the loss of a beloved UPS driver and the Hanukkah celebration that is held on the Washington Street Mall. She mentioned that as she writes about these local events, she is always certain to include a photograph to contextualize the occurrence for the reader. Overall, Rachel described her content-shift as a result of the freelance work that she had started for local newspaper, The Star and Wave, at the time.
As she was describing her writing interests to me, Rachel said: “I’ve always wanted to write more for a magazine than a newspaper but, as I have discovered, my writing talents are way better suited for a newspaper.” Since discovering her news writing talent, Rachel has realized that she loves it more than she expected to. In the time that she has lived in Cape May, she’s worked with The Cape May County Herald, The Star and Wave, Cape May Magazine, and more. With the permission of the editors from these publications, she often uses her site to upload the freelance content that she creates for them.
As we talked, Rachel explained that for her, the most difficult part about being a digital journalist, while also working as a print journalist, is maintaining a consistent posting schedule. She feels that a lot of her digital work ends up falling to the sidelines because most of her time has to go toward her paid print work. A girl has to pay her bills somehow, you know? Because of this, Rachel uses her site as more of “a digital portfolio” or “resume” rather than a tool for making money. However, for Rachel, uploading to her site – when she can – does have quite a few benefits. She finds posting on her site incredibly gratifying because she can instantly see the traffic that her work is getting. Despite sometimes falling behind on her posting schedule, Rachel finds that digital journalism has a particular allure because of its ability to instantaneously reach and engage with people.
However, when asked what her preference was between the print and digital journalism work that she partakes in, Rachel said, “I’ve always definitely been more of a print person. I really like to hold books, newspapers, and magazines in my hand. But I know the future of this career is going to be more online than print.” So, even though digital journalism isn’t where Rachel’s heart, or career, is quite yet, she is certain that it will play a big part in the future of communication. She believes that the demand for news will continue to grow and with that, the internet may be the only medium that has the ability to keep up with it.
So, as Rachel talked about the highs and lows of being a digital journalist, she also gave some of her personal tips and tricks to becoming the best digital journalist you can possibly be – especially if you’re a busy person:
- Be consistent and be sure to maintain a regular posting schedule.
- Make sure to keep the content of your website updated.
- Have content in the bank and schedule your posts ahead of time.
- Always link your post to social media.
Thanks for following along with the story of Cape May Rachel! Please visit back in a couple of weeks to enjoy an exclusive audio profile of another wonderful Cape May contributor. See you then!
This week, I spoke with the lovely & interesting #CapeMay journalist, Rachel Shubin. Want to read about her experience as both a #digital and #print journalist? You know where to go: https://t.co/doJWAAgipT
— Covert Cape May (@CapeCovert) November 10, 2019