The evolving skillset for today’s journalists

Research reported today on a new media blog seems to underscore a couple of notions.

  • First, students need to acquire a varied set of diverse skills to be competitive out of the box when they graduate.
  • Second, the job market out there is pretty bleak.

Mindy McAdams at the University of Florida in her blog teaching online journalism referes to the results of some research with 86 editors in the midwest that seems to underscore these notions.

McAdams says the research boils down to three things that are on the radar for today’s editors: (1) acquiring diverse skills in multimedia and conventional journalism; (2) writing — good, old-fashioned writing on deadline; and (3) curiosity and enthusiasm.

Perhaps the latter could be called “spunk.” But as Mary Richards found out from hardboiled editor Lou Grant on the old Mary Tyler Moore Show: “You’ve got spunk — I hate spunk.” Maybe spunk is making a comeback.

Read McAdams’ blog here.

In a related treatise on the “New Journalism Skillset,” blogster Ryan Sholin suggested a list of essentials for those who want to work in today’s media. What Sholin suggested was adapted by a colleague from College Media Advisers into a single sheet of excellent advice, closing with a quote from renowned new media guru Rob Curley: “Skillset is important. But mindset is most important.”

Curley has spunk.

Having an inkling of what is needed and how he audience will consume it are two vital components of approaching the job with the proper mindset.

Download these tips here (I wish I could credit the colleague who preapred this but did not note the name when I downloaded it. Bad journalism there.). And, visit Sholin’s site (Invisible Inkling) and read his take on mad skills that inspired the adaptation by clicking here.


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