Essential skills for new journalists

Mindy McAdams (Uni of Florida & author of Flash Journalism) argues that many journalism students (and teachers) are stuck in the past. See her posting Getting (and keeping) a job in journalism

"…some of those students are the very ones who are deliberately plugging
their own ears and closing their eyes to reality. They are attached to
a dream of becoming someone from the past — maybe photojournalist
Eddie Adams, maybe gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson — a journalist who
only took pictures or who only wrote."

McAdams adds that journalism teachers must also sit up and take note..   

"Some students will persist in this dream no matter what anyone tells
them. But some of them are surely encouraged by their teachers and
other mentors to imagine that there still exists a world where people
only read, and mostly on paper."

McAdams believes that the future of journalism is online. Jeff Jarvis of Media Guardian also has some useful hints about the way the world of journalism is shifting (Bigger Better Journalism).

A few random thoughts:

  • Journalism schools need to be sending out students who are "fully converged". All of our students get a good grounding in broadcast, print and (increasingly) online. But we, alongside other other journalism departments, need to join these dots up and pull down walls between departments.   
  • Some students read blogs, very few actually create them (about 3 bloggers in every group of 20 students). All creative type people can benefit from having a blog – no question. It’s a brilliant way to showcase work to potential employers. 
  • Some of the traditional ways of teaching reporting are becoming outdated. I’m repeating what many others have said, but ‘opinion’ is merging with
    ‘news’. We’re already seeing changes in the news reporting in freebies
    like TheLondonPaper. News reports appear with "cute and cuddly" feature-style intros.
  • Journalism students need to understand the business side of the media. Despite all the free DVDs,  paid-for newspaper circulation. But the circulations of freebie newspapers, like TheLondonPaper and LondonLite, are increasing. There are business opportunities out there – start new publications and experiment with new ways of delivery.

4 Responses to Essential skills for new journalists

  1. Kim February 2, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    This is all really interesting and I’m not sure what to think either.
    It’s interesting how opinion and fact are becoming so interchangeable now that blogs are so prevalent and relied upon as news sources, and newspapers increasingly rely on this ‘citizen content’.
    Blogs bring people’s opinions and analysis of current news events to the surface… but when it comes to reporting the facts I still don’t see how things have changed so much in terms of ensuring that good, fair journalism practice is seen as an ideal goal.
    There’s always been a need in traditional print media for quality control (subs, editors, production bods) and as the tools for online journalism become more collaborative and ‘checkable’ (eg Wikipedia) can this still apply?
    Anyway on to other things – are you both going to make Nick’s leaving drinks on Friday??? Big Dave reckons he’ll come.

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