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New skill sets for journalism

Starter presentation in a weeklong workshop for journalism educators at Rhodes University, South Africa, in June 2014. We are trying to discover the needs of the journalism school as it goes forward with changes and updates in the curriculum. Purpose of this pres is to identify some areas where teaching needs to be focused, or refocused.

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New skill sets for journalism

  1. 1. NEW SKILL SETS: JOURNALISM Mindy McAdams, Professor Department of Journalism University of Florida Gainesville, Florida, USA
  2. 2. My background • BA in (print) journalism, 1981 • Copy editor, book publishing, 1982–1984 • Reporter and editor, weekly business newspaper, 1984–1988 • Copy editor, Time magazine, New York, 1988–1993 • MA in media studies, 1993 • Copy editor, The Washington Post, 1993–1994 • Content developer, online editor, The Washington Post, 1994–1995 • Online journalism trainer, 1995–1999 • Professor, journalism, 1999–today
  3. 3. TRANSITION From print and broadcast to online media
  4. 4. Effects of the transition 1. Variety: Public has more access to more sources (no monopolies) 2. Time: News is now 24/7 (when you want it) 3. Place: Computers and mobile devices are the site of news delivery (where you want it) 4. Trust: Not always clear who is providing information online 5. Business model: Advertising and subscriptions are decreasing 6. Authority: Control of media and information has shifted
  5. 5. SKILLS New competencies for the (digital) journalist
  6. 6. Skills in demand for digital journalism 1. Collaboration and participation 2. Aggregation and curation 3. Data analysis and data graphics (including maps) 4. Photos and video 5. Social media (sharing and mining) 6. Apps and other digital-only products 7. Audience research
  7. 7. Collaboration and participation • From us … to/for them (old style) • Two-way street: “My audience knows more than I do” (new style) • Asking readers/listeners/viewers for tips • Actively recruiting audience to help report • Not same as citizen journalism • Not same as UGC • Not same as old source models (not only officials) • Encouraging audience to interact with one another on your site or about your content
  8. 8. Example of collaboration
  9. 9. Aggregation and curation “Aggregation and curation are techniques of using content from other sources to provide content for your audience. They occupy overlapping spaces …” Definition —Steve Buttry, Digital Transformation Editor for Digital First Media and Journal Register Co.
  10. 10. Aggregation types • Fully automated, no humans are selecting content (for example, Google search) • Partly automated (for example, an RSS feed from one newspaper) • Only automated in a small way (for example, a reporter performs several Google searches to create an annotated list of links to useful resources) • Not automated at all; mainly uses human intelligence and judgment (for example, a reporter interviews several experts to compile a list of links to useful resources) — this is more like curation
  11. 11. Aggregation and curation More about this on Tuesday morning!
  12. 12. Data journalism • Data collection • Public records and documents • Information submitted by the public • Information gathered by journalists • Data analysis • Numeracy • Data cleaning • Use of Excel (or Google Sheets) • Data graphics • Simple (made with Excel, for example) • Complex (includes animation and interactivity) • Maps (can be Google Maps)
  13. 13. Photos and video • This is huge … and multifaceted! • Stills • Shrinking photo staffs at daily newspapers • Use of (mediocre) user-contributed photos and stock photos • Wire services: Photo curation, e.g. The Big Picture (from • Instagram • Online video • Short documentary style • Examples from National Public Radio • New York Times Op-Docs • Super-short videos: Vine, Instagram, and even animated GIFs
  14. 14. Photos and video: Proposals Every journalist should be able to: • Capture usable photos and video on a smartphone (or at least on a point-and-shoot camera) • Record a usable short man-on-the-street interview as video on a smartphone • Crop, tone, and resize a photo using Photoshop (or comparable software), save the file, and upload/send it to editors Every photojournalism student should be able to: • Curate photo stories using wire service images • Edit video for the Web
  15. 15. Photos and video: Proposals (2) Every journalist should be able to: • Compose and shoot a reasonably good photo of any interview subject • Select acceptable photos from any batch of images • Write accurate and complete photo captions • Recognize dangers of fakery (Photoshopped fakes) • Understand specifics of copyright and permissions for all online images — because all journalists will work online, and none of them should be stealing images
  16. 16. Photos and video: Proposals (3) Every video journalist should be able to: • Compress and export video for the Web (balancing quality and file size) • Create readable titles, credits, and lower thirds in an editing program (for stand-alone video) • Write a headline that can be used as a link to the video and that clearly represents the content of the video • Write a brief, accurate text summary of the video that does not spoil or repeat the first 30 seconds of the video’s content • Come up with suitable tags for videos posted to YouTube or Vimeo
  17. 17. Opportunities
  18. 18. Social media Sharing • Attract followers, develop an audience • Share articles and other content via links • Start and participate in conversations Mining • Spot new trends • Curate conversations • Cultivate sources • Monitor breaking news situations • Verify Note: Journalists must use social media regularly and in a professional manner (to understand it).
  19. 19. “60 percent of our audience is not coming through the homepage.” —Raju Narisetti, managing editor, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network (2012)
  20. 20. Social media More about this topic on Wednesday afternoon!
  21. 21. Apps and digital-only production • Here’s where we get to the “Web code” topics • Should all journalists learn a programming language? • Difference between Web design (HTML, CSS) • And actual programming (e.g., JavaScript, Python, Ruby on Rails) • Can journalists contribute — as part of a team — to development of a mobile app, an interactive game, or other code-intensive development effort? • Should newsrooms be developing apps? • What do we mean by “apps,” anyway? • Could JMS students collaborate with computer science students at Rhodes?
  22. 22. Audience research • Niches (the end of mass) • Digital tracking of every click: • Pageviews (number per story) — only the tip of iceberg • How many stories viewed by each visitor • Referrers (where they came from) • Time spent • Return visits (users who are logged in) • Analysis of user behaviors, patterns — richer than “number of subscribers” or “number of viewers” • Which device(s) did they use? • How and what they share (beyond “most emailed”)
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  24. 24. NPR has programmed its own “social media dashboard” to track audience activity.
  25. 25. Dao Nguyen, Director of Growth, “How do you get people to share your great content? “How do you get people to click on content that [is] most likely to be shared? “How do you know which content will be most likely to be shared? “How do you give editors information about what is being shared real-time, and what has been shared a lot in the (recent) past? “Good technology can answer these questions.”
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  28. 28. NEW SKILL SETS: JOURNALISM Mindy McAdams Twitter: @macloo