Wanted: “Journalism plus”

Anyone looking for a job in journalism needs to know what employers want.  The short answer is, they want it all.  They’re looking for journalists who can process information and write clearly, and who also have high-level technical skills.  And that’s not all.

Jim Brady, executive editor of Washington Post.com says skills like Flash and video editing are nice to have, but they’re useless if you don’t understand the changing media landscape.  In a conversation with Alfred Hermida (posted on MediaShift), Brady says he expects new hires to understand how people are consuming media.  The first thing he asks in a job interview: assess the changes in media in the last five years and where do you see it going?

Len Brody, CEO of NowPublic.com, told Hermida that journalists not only need to know about those changes, they must be prepared to take advantage of them.  “Your marketing capabilities are going to be as important as your writing capabilities,” he says.  That means understanding search engine optimization, tagging, and how to discover news within social networks, Brody says.

Robert Scoble of Fast Company TV agrees.  “You have to write in a style that gets you into Google, FriendFeed, Twitter,” he says. In today’s world, Scoble says, employers want “journalism plus.”

This weekend, I’ll be at a journalism seminar at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, sponsored by the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association.  I’ll keep my ears open for other suggestions.

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