Posted in Uncategorized

Mashable Offers Must-have Traits for Journalists

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I have spent a lot of time in the past few weeks reading the resumes of students and young reporters from the National Association of Black Journalists’ Young Black Journalist listserv.  My first impression was how delighted I was to see how so many of them have multimedia skills.  My second impression was that for many of them, I actually had to hunt and ask questions to get them to put it on their resumes — clearly.

Around the time I started reviewing the resumes, I saw this great post from the Mashable blog: 8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist, written by Vadim Lavrusik.  I know that we’ve written about this topic before, but having looked at these resumes, I think it’s worth writing about again, not only to make sure we all have the skills, but also know how to highlight them on our updated resumes.

  1. Entrepreneurial and Business Savvy — Lavrusik cites several Web sites that have popped up to fill the gaps being created by journalists as traditional media continues to shrink.  Others I like are Texas Tribune, Maryland Reporter, Baltimore Brew and  DNA Info.
  2. Programmer — Several of the resumes made a passing mention of creating/coding Web sites and blogs.  This will be a valuable skill moving ahead using things like HTML, CSS, PHP (PHP), JavaScript, ActionScript3 and Python.  I am a user and big fan of the FREE training offered by Seattle-based Creative Techs.
  3. Open-minded Experimenter — Experimenter has been my middle name since March 2006, when our bosses told us we had to embrace digital media.  I’ve done everything from podcasts to video to slide shows to photography to embracing social media, all in the name of enhancing, complementing or improving my stories.
  4. Multimedia Storyteller — See above.  We also need to have the ability to write across all platforms, quickly.  I currently  contribute to two newsletters, three blogs, a real-time paid Web site, a free Web site and a weekly magazine.  I need to take my stories and slice, dice and enhance to whatever media I choose, all in the name of getting the news out to our readers.
  5. The Social Journalist and Community Builder — I have become a fan of using social media to enhance my reporting.  I have used Twitter and our Facebook fan page to reach out to readers for story ideas and tips.  But be warned – social media is not a substitute to good, old-fashioned reporting.
  6. Blogger and Curator — Journalists go back and forth on this, but I have fully embraced blogging, both professionally and personally.  On the professional side, I use our company blogs to expand on published stories or write about relevant issues that might not fit into any of our stable of publications.  On the personal side, I write for this blog and write about new media issues on my blog, Musings of a New Media Maven.
  7. Multi-skilled — I majored in broadcast journalism, but decided to go into the print side of the business.  I hardly recognize myself now, since I write, shoot/edit video, record/produce podcasts and take my own pictures.  Other things on my to-do list are interactive maps, slide shows and Flash CS4.
  8. Fundamental Journalism Skills — this one is last on the list, but I question why, because without this, none of the other seven items amounts to a hill of beans.

How are you doing with the eight items on this list?  Do you think that more things should be added?  Tell us about it.

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Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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