Skills for Multimedia Journalism

College ClassroomChris Evans is director of the student media program at the University of Vermont where he writes a blog on journalism. He’s also written for daily newspapers in cities across four different states, so he’s learned about the media industry through firsthand experiences.

In an article for Suite 101, Evans stresses the fact that journalists new to the field and those still in j-school will need a wider set of skills than industry veterans. Journalists now need to be Internet-savvy and good at multitasking. Media jobs are dwindling, yet publications are ramping up their web presence.

Evans cites tips from a fellow blogger, Ryan Sholin, who writes about journalism and media at Invisible Inkling. Sholin is also the Director of News Innovation at Publish2, a site that focuses on collaborative journalism. Although the particular entry that Evans references is from 2007, many of the tips are still relevant three years later.

Some of them include:

  • Know HTML, at least enough to use a potential employer’s content management system (CMS).
  • Learn how to use Photoshop.
  • Become familiar with using a digital camera, a video camera, or an audio recorder. Learn the basics of shooting and editing digital media.
  • Practice videoblogging.
  • Excel in at least one of the “trinity” of skill sets: multimedia, interactivity or data.

In a more recent blog post, from October of last year, Sholin’s biggest piece of advice is to blog. “[M]aintain a Web site where you write on a somewhat regular basis,” he writes. Sholin also says, “Become an expert at one analog craft and one digital craft.” The digital skills are all of those things referenced above, and by “analog craft,” he means something like copyediting, photography, or media law.

As the competition for media jobs grows, your best bet is to make yourself the most marketable candidate you can be. The need for multimedia journalists will only get bigger.

You can follow Ryan Sholin on Twitter (@ryansholin) to read his media musings.

Source: “Further notes on the new journalism skillset,” Invisible Inkling, 02/05/07
Source: “The New Journalism Skill Set,” Suite 101, 01/30/10
Source: “My advice to journalism students,” Invisible Inkling, 10/23/09
Image by Mark Hillary on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license.

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  1. These are all really good points for what journalists need to know. I think knowing HTML and how to produce video are probably some of the most important skills that journalists need to learn. The difficult thing for many journalists will be trying to switch across to the new medium. Many journalists have been brought up on the old way of doing things so it will be some time before they actually learn the new skills to continue in the industry.