8 Must-have traits of tomorrow's journalist

Source Mashable on December 9, 2009 0 Comments
Michele McLellan, Matt Thompson, community news, RJI
"8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow's Journalist" Mashable.com, Dec. 9, 2009

As the news industry looks to reconstruct its suffering business model, the journalists of today must reconstruct their skill sets for the growing world of online media. Because of cutbacks at many news organizations, the jobs available are highly competitive. News companies are seeking journalists who are jacks of all trades, yet still masters of one (or more). 2010 will likely be a time of transition as today’s journalists catch up to learn the multimedia, programming, social media, and business skills they’ll need to tell their stories online. These new skills are especially relevant to startups that are looking to hire multi-skilled and social media-savvy journalists. Below we’ve gathered some skills that are quickly becoming basic requirements for the journalist of tomorrow. These skills are presented in no particular order.

Here is a sample from Lavrusik's article:

3. Open-minded Experimenter

The challenge for new journalists will be a shift in mindset from control and content to openness and connectivity with audiences, said Alfred Hermida, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Hermida also says that though storytelling across multiple platforms will be important, the key will be to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different media so that the best one may be utilized for each story.

This also means being a learner that can spot trends and understand what new technology can do, according to Michele McLellan, a media consultant who blogs for the Knight Digital Media Center on news innovation. The journalist of tomorrow should be willing to experiment with new tools, not be afraid of them.

5. The Social Journalist and Community Builder

The new journalist will be a social journalist. This means engaging with your audience, promoting content and building personal brands as a thought leader. Social media increasingly focuses credibility on individual journalists as opposed to the news organization. Mathew Ingram, Communities Editor at the Globe and Mail, said that future journalists will have the ability to find and connect with communities of interest both online and offline.

Though right now, this role is often being filled by specialized community managers and social media editors. Ingram said that in the long term, every reporter should become their own community manager.

Journalists of tomorrow will also have new beats. Typically, this has involved covering a specific subject, topic or community. The new journalist will have what Ingram calls “virtual beats.”

This means building, communicating and engaging with communities online. Kevin Sablan, Web leader at the Orange County Register, said that journalists of tomorrow will spend more time “pounding the pavement” in online social spaces.

Matt Thompson, interim Online Community Manager for the Knight Foundation, said he thinks technological skills are secondary to the core desire to provide community in formats they can connect with.

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