New skills needed to be a journalist

We’ve heard time and time again, to be a journalist, you need a certain skill set. You need to like people, not be afraid to ask questions, be a good writer, etc. In today’s day and age though, is all that still necessarily true? I would argue that there are a few things that have been added to that list–so all aspiring journalists–take note!

Here's just a small list of some of the skills new journalists will likely need. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Here’s just a small list of some of the skills new journalists will likely need. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

The Future of Media Lab explains that video production and multi-media skills are all but absolutely required anymore, thanks to the collaborative journalism world we are finding ourselves in. By no means does this mean that more traditional skills are no longer important—it’s quite the opposite situation, actually. What employers are looking for now are journalists who can do more. There have been budget cuts and staff cuts as a repercussion, which means a journalist who can do the job that used to require two people is going to be very marketable.

As a journalist in today's market, you'll have at least one of these titles, if not more. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

As a journalist in today’s market, you’ll have at least one of these titles, if not more. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Understanding social media is also a very important skill when looking for a job in today’s journalism market. Utilizing social media can have a strong impact in how stories are reported and shared within communities, and more often reporters are using Twitter to report on breaking news situations, because it allows them to provide minute-by-minute updates. Not every story, however, translates well to social media. Working in a community, a reporter should be able to understand what their followers are looking for and be able to provide that through Facebook and Twitter. Certain stories will get more play time than others.

There are several skills and traits that are almost necessary to get a job now that weren’t even 10 years ago, just simply thanks to the changing industry. It’s hard to stay ahead of the curve, but as a new journalist entering the market, one of the best things you can do is get as much experience as you can and continuously stick to developing new skills. The more things you can be good at, the more appealing you will be to potential employers. At the end of the day, you have to do something to set yourself apart from the rest.

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