Yes, TV journalists are different. I don’t have a clue what some of these things mean. But hey, that only makes me realize that I still have a lot to learn.
Ten Things I’d Teach New Reporters: A wonderful list from Lenslinger, and he really is talking to those people we see on camera, holding a microphone. In TV news, they are the reporters. When Lenslinger says “photographer,” he means the person with that big hunk of gear perched on one shoulder.
Now I know to avoid the most heinous faux pas in TV news: Twisting the knobs on the photographer’s car radio. (Okay! I’ve been warned!)
The blog is excellent. I think I’ll have to subscribe.
This list makes me reaffirm my conviction that reporters should stay OFF camera … the way the best online journalism video is shot.
I was getting ready to do a list o’ links to all the buzz about the big announcement, starting with a memo posted by Romenesko on Nov. 3. Then I checked in at Google Blog Search and found out Jack Lail had already made a good list.
Andrew Grant-Adamson at Wordblog has posted a thoughtful follow-up to his earlier post about the surprising number of very dull newspaper blogs. A sample:
There is no doubt that blogs have become a valuable element in the mix offered by newspapers. … But they are not a simple add on to an existing job. Blogging well takes time. … Newspapers need to be selective and think carefully about their policy. Blogs have to be an integral part of the business plan and show that they contribute to the achievement of the plan.
He’s got his eyes on the British newspapers. Someone (with more spare time than I have) should do the same over here.
I sure would like to hear whether some of those newspapers with two dozen blogs (or more) are monitoring the traffic carefully and making plans to clear away the dead wood. It’s probably high time to do so.
Tuesday is Election Day in the United States. Yes, unlike in civilized countries where elections are held on a non-workday, here in the big democracy we have to either get up early to rush to vote before work, or else rush to the polls after work and stand in line and hope the polls don’t close before we get our chance.
a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that seeks to empower citizens to capture, post and share photographs of democracy in action. By documenting their local voting experience on November 7, voters can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.
I think this is cool because our polling places are usually so humble, and so homely — school basements and libraries and gymnasiums, for example. And what about those nice people from the League of Women Voters? No one would be able to vote without them.
So grab your digital camera and make sure to shoot a few snaps for posterity.
Update (Nov. 6): See the comments here for links to a related video project and an HBO documentary about insecure voting mechanisms in the U.S.
My job requires me to talk to as many online journalists as I can about what they do in their jobs. A recent pair of surveys, written up by a Medill graduate student in an academic report (PDF) that has been widely linked already, provides information about the skills used in online journalism jobs, and it’s worth reading.
It’s also worthwhile to consider the methodology used in the surveys. While members of the Online News Association were invited to respond to one survey (239 responses were received), the other survey was open to anyone (199 responses were received). Thus the results might give us a different list of required skills than we would get if we sat down with the people doing these jobs and asked THEM what it is they do.
I’m not saying every journalism student today has to become Adrian Holovaty. I’m not saying all students must become Flash journalists. Some people mistakenly see this as an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s not. And out of any 50 online journalism jobs, you would be hard-pressed to find two that were identical.
Another side of this story of job skills needed in journalism today was summed up in a comment posted at Journalistopia:
When folks send me their resumes, I often feel bad for those who think they have two years experience working at a major news Web site. But really they have two years experience pasting photos into a gallery and writing cutlines.
The dirty truth is that many news organizations have taken perfectly competent young journalists and stuck them in a purgatory of cutting and pasting, like clerical workers.
No doubt we have lost many talented young Web jockeys because of this. (Will Sullivan offered up some awesome advice on the topic earlier this week.)
So before you start telling kids they don’t need to know HTML and CSS to get a job, for heaven’s sake, please TALK to some journalists who actually do this kind of work.
Consider this finding from the report:
Online news producers described a willingness to learn new things, multitasking and teamwork as very important to the job. More generally, these attitudes were summed up as the ability to “think online” — and the ability to convince others to do the same. They are the qualities that nearly all the hiring managers are looking for and that nearly all the producers use every day … (p. 2)
I have no problem with that — it’s totally true. But what about the parts of the survey that get to the specific skill sets the hiring managers are seeking?
The surveys divided 35 skills into four categories: Attitudes and Intangibles, Editing and Copy-editing Skills, Content Creation, and Online Production Tools. So while a lot of folks have fixed their eyeballs on those copy-editing skills (for which, as a former copy-editor, I have nothing but respect), I would like to draw your attention to the disagreement between the two columns below (taken from p. 5):
Here’s what I suggest: Look at the table and think about whether you believe it tells an educator to spend 72.7 (or 35.2) percent of an online journalism course on teaching students how to use a content management system (CMS). Of course not.
And if almost one-fourth of the producers use CSS frequently or every day, does that mean a journalism student should not bother to learn CSS? Come on.
Please keep in mind that if a news organization has an online editorial staff of four or fewer, they’re looking for a different kind of person to fill an open slot than the organization that has a staff of 20.
Get on the phone and ask a hiring editor what they scan the resume for when someone applies for an online journalism job. I know what they’re going to say, because they call me up and ask if I can send them any students!
They say: Flash. CSS. Video. Audio gathering and editing. And by the way, do you have anyone who can do what that Adrian Holovaty does?