Multimedia know-how

What multimedia skills do journalists need? What are managers looking for (if they’re looking at all)? Joe Grimm, who writes the “Ask the Recruiter” column for Poynter, says there’s no one “must” skill every journalist needs to learn, but every journalist should bring something digital to the table.

Increasingly, recruiters are looking for that X factor, X being for extra. What can you do in addition to your base skills? Can you make a slideshow, gather audio, shoot video? Can you help us grow?

I particularly liked one suggestion raised during a live Web chat Grimm hosted last week: Learn to organize and socialize. No, that doesn’t mean knowing how to throw a party and make sure the guests have a good time, although those are useful skills in their own right.  In the digital journalism context, it means knowing how to organize information from a variety of sources and how to push information out via social media, from Digg to Twitter and beyond.

One of the ways many online news managers try to “socialize” their stories is to get them listed on Fark.  It takes a a keen sense of timing to beat other would-be listers to the punch and a clever way with words. For example, here’s how the Raleigh News & Observer promoted one story that make the Fark list: ” Having solved all other problems, North Carolina legislature seeks to outlaw another plant.”  Actual N&O headline: “Lawmaker finds a cause in a hallucinogenic mint.”  A Fark headline from KENS-TV in San Antonio reads: “Thank you for calling 911. Will this be cash or charge?” The KENS Web site version: “Castle Hills to charge for 911 calls.”

See how that works? Okay, then. Good luck!