Multimedia Rock Stars is the new personal brand game for Journalists

By Jon-Michail

The workplace is changing quickly. Journalists and multimedia professionals are becoming ever more aware of how they must adapt to the shifts in their industry towards online reporting and the growth of social media. It is no longer enough to take a traditional journalism course.  Journalists are increasingly being expected not to be simply good reporters and writers, but also to have specialised knowledge in numerous fields.

Journalism students expect to receive a solid foundation in the fundamental skills of the trade. But now they must prepare for careers as multimedia journalists in the fields of television, internet, newspaper, or magazine journalism. While studying print journalism, students should expect to study news and feature writing, beat reporting, copyediting and design, immersion reporting, online research and writing, public affairs reporting, and editorial writing – as long as they select a journalism school that is up with the advances in multi-media.

Television journalism students should cover broadcast news writing, television
field reporting, and newscast production, as well as spending time in state-of-the-art television studios and in digital editing suites. A study of visual journalism will introduce students to photojournalism, videography, design and how to edit various forms of media into multimedia journalism projects. It’s enough to make an onlooker’s head spin.

Craig Duff, a former multimedia editor at Time magazine, says “journalism students need to learn how to specialise, while being able to adapt.” Despite news being published on multiple platforms, he says that very few people are expected to write a long form story, shoot the photographs, edit a video and tweet about it. Having a good foundation in reporting and being adaptable is important as the lines between broadcast, web, mobile and tablets become ever blurred.

The good news for experienced or elder reporters and journalists is that many of these skills can be self-taught. For example, one of the best ways to learn is through hands-on experience by starting a video blog. Try experimenting with free multimedia apps like live streaming from your mobile or podcasting with free sites. To become a social journalist reaching out to online communities, journalists should blog regularly. Two straightforward posting sites are Tumblr and Posterous, while Word Press can be customised and has social media integration tools. Blogging can be done within organisations, allowing journalists to lend a personal character to their company and connect with new audiences. It will also help journalists to build personal brands that will be recognised beyond their current news organisation.

The employment market for journalists (like for many other professions) worldwide is currently in upheaval. To survive, journalists will need to have a combination of the skills mentioned, beyond the fundamentals that have been taught for years. Skills like interviewing, good writing, ethics, news judgment, investigation and verification are more important than ever, with readers and audiences looking for trustworthy sources on the web. The world is dramatically changing and those who measure up will be the ones who are willing to experiment with the new tools, rather than being afraid of them. Making the decision to transform and becoming entrepreneurial is the first step to becoming a multi-media rock star and staying ahead of the game.

Do you agree with this new trend?  What are you doing to stay ahead?

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