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Journalists: Your Digital Aquarius Awaits

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online news

The media industry, particularly print newspapers are undergoing significant change.

The old model of basing profits on advertising revenue has long gone.

How then are journalists to adapt their skills in this ever changing landscape?

A recent article in an online media publication explored how newspapers could be re-defined.

In the past, newspapers were driven by the ‘scoop’ or how quickly their journalists could break a story. However, with social media playing a crucial role in breaking news, the ‘scoop’ is no longer the domain of media organisations and not enough to keep and attract readers. Journalists require a more in-depth style of reporting to keep an online audience engaged.

In addition, schools and colleges need to teach digital media skills. Students specialising in media and journalism should practise with image manipulation software, video editing, social media and interactive animation (if possible). Indeed, some media organisations do create slideshows, interactive charts, photo galleries and video to accompany news articles. Yet few journalists have the digital media skills needed to offer more than a few token tweets and images.

It would be remiss of colleges and schools to rely solely on previous teaching and learning materials to train the next crop of graduates. Clearly this is no longer enough preparation for an evolving career. Also, journalists currently working for magazines and newspapers should invest in professional development to update their technology skills.

Whilst becoming proficient with all  software is unlikely, you can certainly carve a niche in Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator or Premiere. However, there is plenty of free software including Gimp (for image manipulation) Inkskape (an Illustrator alternative) and Movie Maker – which is perfectly adequate if you don’t need fancy special effects.

Colleges should require student journalists to complete at least one major multimedia driven story. Interactive content provides visual stimulation and immersive reader experiences which can be updated with further content and links.  This encourages return online visits whilst breaking from the traditional news format and can be an inspirational form of story telling.

The media, once at the forefront of breaking news, could be the digital vanguard instead.

Let’s hope schools and colleges rewrite outdated curriculum, news organisations commit to training staff and that a new age of digital journalism will emerge.

Online News

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Author: Sue Bell
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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