Page 3 of 7

A modern journalists’ job description?

Tomorrow I’m doing a talk at Bournemouth University to their journalism students. I’ve been kindly invited along by senior lecturer, Phil MacGregor, who has asked me to talk about jobs and getting going.

One of the things I’ve put together for the talk is a hypothetical job description (below) of the skills that a journalist now may require over the next few years. It’s not sector specific and I’ve tried to keep away from mentioning any software. I am trying to highlight that old skills as well as new ones are needed and the aim is not to create a slightly cynical description, which could so easily be done, eg. “applicants are expected to produce 10 articles a day without reference to a press release”. I’d be interested in any additions or deletions from readers.

Adaptable and enthusiastic journalist with an eye for detail, strong sense of passion and in-depth knowledge of their subject. Good core research, investigative copy writing/broadcasting/editing, skills with an enthusiasm for learning essential. Comfortable networking and talking to others (including on the phone). Due to fewer sub-editors all applicants are expected to have excellent written English.

To survive, a knowledge and awareness of marketing and business will be considered very useful.

Must be able to work by themselves or as part of a team. Good photographic, online video/audio recording skills a must, with the ability to put them up online quickly to deadline.

An eye for innovation and willingness to experiment without fear of failure, crucial.

Applicants without existing online journalism experience and body of work need not apply.

PS. An understanding of SEO, social media, website analytics, business models and mobile technologies will also come in handy.

PPS. The ability to understand and analyse data and how data is structured also useful to have as a back-pocket-skill. Cf. MPs Expenses Scandal 2009.

@ianbetteridge says: @kcorrick You can sum that up as 3 steps: “1. Find out stuff no one else knows. 2. Publish it. 3. Profit!?!”