Skills a multimedia journalist needs

The Online News Association Job Fair in Washington, DC seemed like a great place to do some investigating of the multimedia job market – and it was.  Ironically, the recruiters came from USA Today, Gannett, New York Times, Associated Press, Tribune Media Services, McClatchy and the Washington Post among others  Ironic because on the same day these companies were looking for multimedia journalists, several were in the midst of laying off hundreds of people.

My colleague, Kristine Trever, attended the fair and talked with a half dozen reps from these companies.  She came up with a list of top skills for the multimedia journalist:

  • Excellent writing skills (emphasized by everyone)
  • Proficiency in multimedia platforms – i.e. video & audio
  • Proficiency in multimedia tools – Flash, InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver

And Trever said they all talked about “flexibility, confidence, adaptability and versatility – as in, at a moment’s notice, a print person might be on camera.”

Trever says they also stressed “real world experience” and the importance of being bi- or multi-lingual.

Student journalists are lucky – they’re perfectly positioned to take classes and internships that will help them develop these skills.  Veteran journalists can do it, too – and perhaps adapt even more easily.  Excellent writing skills and experience are a lot harder to develop than basic software and technical expertise, but that “flexibility, confidence, adaptability and versatility” is what will make the difference for them.