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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The journalist of the future

At Press Association Training we are constantly reviewing our course offering to meet the demands of the changing market. One of the biggest challenges is understanding how needs are changing - particularly with the communications industry in a state of almost constant change.
There is still strong demand for traditional skills, news writing, story-gathering and subbing for journalists; while the PR and communications industry is still keen to learn about the basics of sending a press release or planning a campaign.
New research would seem to indicate that the media is in a similar quandary in terms of what skills they want from their recruits. An American publication that goes by the splendid name of Journalism & Mass Communication Educator has just completed a study into what 'traditional' and 'non-traditional' media employers want. These two excerpts would seem to suggest that a much broader range of skills is now required to carve out a successful media career. In between the Americanese there are some useful insights:
Traditional news media were still most interested in hiring new employees with nontechnical routine expertise,” such as solid writing skills, working under deadline, editing, teamwork and communication skills, and Associated Press Style. About equally, however, they also were seeking employees with “technical routine expertise,” such as content posting and management, image editing, blogging, video editing, and social media knowledge.
...and in 'non-traditional' news media?
Nontraditional online news media were as interested in nontechnical routine expertise as traditional news media, but less interested in routine technical expertise (perhaps because they assumed new employees already had such skills or that they could be easily taught). Instead, nontraditional online news media were significantly more interested in hiring employees with adaptive expertise, such as knowledge outside journalism/mass communication, creativity, independent and critical thinking, leadership, and problem-solving abilities.

This would all suggest what we've been saying at Press Association Training for some time now, that the journalist of the future will need to have a much broader range of skills and more importantly a much better grasp of how the world is changing around them.

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