Posted on February 29, 2008
Journalism jobs: Online design producer
The Rocky Mountain News Web site needs a “design producer.” I thought that was a pretty interesting job title — not a designer, and not just a producer (hm, story producer, news producer … design producer) to “work with our developers and producers to build innovative tools and applications.”
Sometimes these job ads seem to be asking for what Sean Blanda has hilariously labeled “computer jesus.” This one from the Rocky is not so bad, but a few items in the wish list made me read twice.
- Understanding of user interface and ability to produce designs that meet users’ needs (that’s very reasonable)
- Advanced HTML and CSS proficiency (obviously necessary for online design)
- Proficiency in Flash 8/Flash CS (no doubt they mean CS3; also sensible and natural)
- Proficiency in Adobe Indesign and Photoshop CS (Photoshop, of course — but InDesign? What, you need this person to design the print product as well? Get real!)
- Strong attention to detail (of course)
- Ability to work in a team environment and under pressure, with tight deadlines (sure, sure)
Desired skills a plus:
- Experience with ColdFusion 6.1 and higher (oh, that’s too bad; lots of applicants just quit reading the ad)
- Experience with XML (very natural, very smart)
- Experience with online audio/video production (now wait a minute — this person can design in code, and you ALSO want audio and video? Here is where good people decide not to apply for this job)
- Experience with Final Cut Pro and/or Adobe Premier (see the previous item; you are now asking for computer jesus)
- Experience with FLV video formatting (this, on the other hand, is not so bad, because you DO want your designer to be a Flash guru, and this is not necessarily incompatible with that. However, it would be better to have a video producer and put this is THAT job description)
This person must also be able to:
- Balance priorities and take deadlines seriously (of course)
- Think and learn quickly (sure)
- Take ownership of projects and be proactive in problem-solving (okay, yeah, nice)
- Help conceive and develop database-driven projects for use in print and on the site (computer jesus!)
But then, after a reasonably intelligent ad, the Rocky wrecks it:
Web hosting and maintenance? No! Kiss of death! Die! Die! Run away!
“Some nights and weekends” is not bad. This is journalism, after all. But Web hosting and maintenance?
Why not ask for an utterly useless MCSE certification too, while you’re at it?
(For the sake of comparison, see my earlier post about the requirements for an online NEWS producer at The Washington Post.)