Skills of Convergent Journalists

By Sadé Carpenter

As reporting methods evolve, journalists must refresh current technical skills as well as learn new techniques in order to keep up with new roles in converged newsrooms.

The journalism basics of writing, reporting and interviewing remain, but journalists today must structure content to fit each medium – print, online and broadcast. Journalists must also understand the importance of teamwork in a converged newsroom setting.

Our textbook, “Principles of Convergent Journalism,” lists five reporting skills needed by convergent journalists today:

• Editing
• Photography
• Videography
• Graphics Design
• Web Design

Reporters today are required to be more self-reliant, and possess knowledge of multiple skills. Having expert knowledge of multiple abilities is not necessary, but it is important to have a basic command of many techniques.

When reporting, I think of ways to enhance or supplement the story with different elements, especially when writing for the Web. I must bring my notepad and pen to each interview, but certain stories may also benefit from audio clips, photo packages or video.

Some stories are especially well suited for extensive photos, such as this article, “The 10 People you meet on the CTA.”

The images provide a visual for the reader, and the writer doesn’t have to rely solely on a lengthy description of each person.

Audio and video components can be especially useful for entertainment stories. This story, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” provides a movie clip for the reader.

This news story on 10 popular songs on the radio provides links to audio of each song. This is helpful to readers because they can learn about new music and hear it at the same time.

Today’s convergent journalist is more hirable and better equipped to serve readers with the news they want, in multiple methods.

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