Where are the new roles in journalism? 5th day of Christmas

In the next installment of my 12 Days of Christmas, I am sharing more outtakes from my feature for the Journalist on new roles in journalism.

Back in June I spoke to a number of journalists at the POLIS / BBC College of Journalism event on the value of Journalism. Among them were Laura Oliver, who at the time was at Journalism.co.uk, and Kevin Anderson, then of the Guardian. Over the past three days I have been uploading content from these interviews to my Audioboo account. This blog pulls the content together.

On Tuesday, I uploaded a clip featuring Laura Oliver, in which she suggested that news organisations should communicate better with journalism graduates about what kind of roles and skills they need.

Oliver said that we are seeing new opportunities opening up in terms of content that has a commercial value. She said that this is creating roles for journalists as product managers, but very often journalists coming into the profession are unaware of the possibilities that exist for them.

Oliver, who is about to start her new job as a community manager at the Guardian, said that media organisations are taking this role more seriously. She said that many journalists are covering this area already in addition to their normal duties, but news organisations are starting to see community management as a distinct role with its own set of skills.

Other roles that Oliver highlighted includes SEO reporter and blogger / journalist. She said that people in the industry usually have a better insight than new entrants to the roles that are emerging and why they are important.

There have been suggestions that multiskilled, multimedia journalist could be in demand as the profession evolves, but some in the industry beg to differ.

Kevin Anderson, who has been at the forefront of the BBC and the Guardian’s online innovations over the past 10 years, said there has been an overemphasis on the need for an “all-singing, all-dancing journalist”. He says that he has seen little evidence of multimedia positions opening up for mid-career journalists.

Anderson, who has since gone freelance, later told me that journalists will continue to specialise but there will be a growing expectation for them to be multi-skilled:

I think that journalists starting out will now be expected to have multimedia skills even if they are focused on print. However, as one gets to mid-career, there is still a focus on specialisation.

I also think that most in the industry have realised the limits of all-singing, all-dancing multimedia journalists. There are very, very few journalists who can do everything with equal competence. The premium is still placed on journalists focused on a single medium, although print journalists who can do television have always been in demand.

However, being a commentator on television and being a television journalist are two different things.

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3 thoughts on “Where are the new roles in journalism? 5th day of Christmas

  1. Great and informative post Rosie, keep these 12 days posts coming, they’re great!

    As someone who’s due to graduate in around 18 months it’s a lingering worry to me as to why someone would want to employ me. Yes I’m multimedia-literate and able to understand the links between social media and journalism, but as technology and digital media becomes more commonplace it’s only a matter of time before my “extra knowledge” starts to become a normality rather than a specialism.

    Technology always continues to evolve, and I can’t help thinking that once journalists a generation or two above me learn the skills demanded of multimedia journalism that young graduates who looked at being tech-savvy as a potential boon might be written out of the equation.

    Maybe that’s me just being pessimistic in the face of a foreboding graduation ceremony, but we’ll see! Anyhow, keep the posts coming, they’re a good read 🙂

  2. rosieniven says:

    Thanks for the comments Joseph. Yes, it’s a worrying time for new starters and from someone in the industry already, I can see Laura’s point that it is easier to see new opportunities coming when you are an insider. That said, maybe one of the benefits of work experience is finding out how an organisation works and how journalists’ roles there are changing? I have just uploaded a boo from Alex Wood of Not on the Wires who found out that an internship at World Medical Technology News offered him some unexpected opportunities. More about that in a post tomorrow.


  3. […] Day 5: Blogpost | Where are the new roles in journalism? […]

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