Jack of all (news) trades

18 Apr

The “total journalist” is a term Robert Peston used in a memorial lecture. He describes that the old state of journalism, writing a couple of stories every week, is gone. Now, a journalists churns out stories on the hour, keeps up blogs and incorporates multimedia into their online presence. Seems like a lot to handle, no?

Peston is a business editor for the BBC, so he has a specialized knowledge of the financial state of journalism, combined with the hardships a journalist faces in these economic times. These issues have been coined as “newsonomics” and deal chiefly with the changing state of journalism.

But, as newspapers fight to stay afloat against the current and the large, luxury cruise liners that tablets seem to be sail on by, the consumer must also be remembered. News organizations need to focus on readers. They must keep their content engaging, yet have readers be able to understand the scope of a long-running story if a publication wants to not lose business. By offering a quick overview, a news organization might not lose a potential reader to Wikipedia, which offers this insight without so much digging.

So, as total journalists become a necessity in the news room, publications might want to consider adding a lifeguard certification course as part of staff on-boarding. It could prevent them from getting caught up in the internet’s overpowering wake.

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