Even small newspapers want journos with new media skills (Convinced yet?)

If you want to see the future of UK journalism, it’s often best to look at America. So it’s interesting to see the following statistic to come from research by David Wendelken:

“even the smallest commercial newspapers, with 10,000 readers or fewer, are looking for reporting candidates with experience writing for the Web and uploading stories to the Internet, according to a survey of newspaper managing editors conducted by Wendelken and Toni B. Mehling of James Madison University. Of nine respondents in the “large daily newspaper” category (those with a circulation of 44,000 and above), eight required reporters to have skills in capturing audio while four required audio editing skills. Five required reporters to have skills in capturing video, while one required video editing expertise. Major newspapers, said Wendelken, “are looking at reporters to do these things from the start.”

And the problem isn’t just those who think teaching journalists Dreamweaver is ‘online journalism’. It’s students’ own dated conceptions of the journalism industry:

“A lot of college students select their medium in high school. When they come onto campus, they’re already a TV person or a radio person or a newspaper person,” said Wendelken.

“I’m a print journalist,” he continued, imitating the attitude of many aspiring journalists. “Why do I need to learn video?” 

Of course we’ve had people like Trinity Mirror’s Head of Multimedia saying they want people who know their RSS from their elbow* for months now, but this is the first survey with some concrete figures from people on the ground. It underlines the fact that journalism courses shouldn’t be teaching online journalism as an additional ‘option’ any more. An understanding of new media has become essential.

*The first and last time I will use that hackneyed phrase. Honest.

4 thoughts on “Even small newspapers want journos with new media skills (Convinced yet?)

  1. Mike Schottelkotte

    I’m a senior Online Journalism major at Ohio University. I’ve learned a lot about writing for the web, using video and audio, etc. It’s sometimes a taboo topic when referring to journalism but I wonder what you think about blogging and how it will affect the future of journalim? I recently launched my blog where I’m going to talk a little bit about universities using new media to benefit their credibility and the education of their students.

  2. Mick


    You are at an excellent university. They are preparing you for a real future. Print is falling fast. The combination of a newspaper and internet site is a dynamic model. Your skill set will be in demand. Good luck.

  3. paulbradshaw Post author

    Thanks Mike – and thanks Mick for your supportive comments. To answer Mike’s question: I think blogging has already affected the future of journalism, although as part of the wider effect of new media technologies, making journalism “part of a conversation rather than a lecture” (that phrase is practically synonymous with Dan Gillmor, so read his stuff for more). Some news organisations still treat blogs as a way to post a traditional column, but the process has begun anyway – the rest is about new media and blog literacy.

  4. copyedits

    I’m another journalism student, from University of King’s College in Halifax, NS. Though we dont necessarily have specialized courses, I have chosen to focus mostly on online journalism. It still baffles me that there are (many) professional journalists and journalism students who refuse to acknowledge the importance of online reporting in today’s media. I’m often met with downright angry peers who dont want to admit that the print medium would ever have to change.
    Mick, your words about newspapers and internet sites were encouraging, thank you!
    I’m personally a fan of less traditional blogs- I dont read a blog to read a structured column that has been published in a newspaper, that’s for sure.


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