Journalists need old and new skills today

The world of journalism is constantly changing. © 2011 Anthony Carranza

Along with the ability to drink black coffee, there is a plethora of new skills one must have in order to succeed in journalism today.

This is not to say journalists must throw out everything they know to survive, but they will need to adjust. American University’s career guide has a handy list of skills journalists should have:

  • Strong critical thinking skills
  • The ability to locate, research, analyze, and synthesize complex information
  • Strong writing, reporting, and editing skills
  • Strong analytical reasoning and objective reporting skills
  • Experience adapting content for different audiences
  • Comfort working individually and as a member of a team
  • The ability to apply historical lessons to current policy, social movements, and business trends
  • The ability to forecast shifts in public opinion

In an interview with Poynter Institute, Joy Adams, a journalism professor from the University of Missouri, lays out a few additional tips:

“Without losing any fundamentals such as critically analyzing and gathering information, interviewing, solid writing, etc., I’d add these: thinking visually and interactively, being a smart consumer of the Internet and social media, learning to value audience… personal branding as a journalist, basic Web production and audio/video/photo skills…”

The skill set needed for a successful career in journalism is not completely found in classes, but in how a person sees the world. If he or she learns to look at the news through the lens of later reproducing it, his or her writing will be well-rounded.

Journalists now need to be able to consume news on all platforms, such as the Internet and social media. They also need to have an elementary grasp on how to use multimedia, not just use it. The world of journalism is changing, and therefore the journalists of today and tomorrow will have to do the same.

By Anna Mateffy

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