If you look, you’ll find plenty of signs that this field won’t go away. Journalism isn’t dying; it’s evolving. To survive, we’re all going to have to get more creative and adapt as new technologies and methodologies appear. The traditional titles–reporter, copy editor, photographer, page designer–may fade away or take on new meanings yet journalism won’t altogether become extinct, even despite corruption and the frustration felt by overworked, underpaid journalists.
Journo jobs still exist…
A story in The Atlantic by James Fallows says this at the beginning of an article about the future of journalism:
Guess what? It’s bright.
And an essay from Paul Ford in New York Magazine argues that we still require stories to rise out of the constant flow of information.
We’ll still need professionals to organize the events of the world into narratives, and our story-craving brains will still need the narrative hooks, the cold opens, the dramatic climaxes, and that all-important [period] to help us make sense of the great glut of recent history that is dumped over us every morning. No matter what comes along streams, feeds, and walls, we will still have need of an ending, he says.
Some newer titles in journalism include social media strategist, multimedia reporter and blogger. Here are some more jobs that are beginning to appear now:
- Headline Optimizer. Headlines aren’t what they used to be, especially in the online world. Once you could be witty or silly or clever, depending on the story. And once you didn’t have to worry about keywords. Today, headlines are often the way people find and decide to click on a story. Good headlines are still an art, yet they are a completely different style. To brush up on your headline-writing, you could start by reading Poynter’s 10 questions to help you write better headlines.
- Social Media Reporter / Aggregator. Andy Carvin is well-known for his unique news role using Twitter to fact-check information. (See our interview with Carvin.) Other media organizations are finding useful ways to make sense of social media noise. Storify is one tool being used by journalists.
- Story Scientist. This job is about investigating data to make digital content. New York Magazine talks about the role of a data scientist at Buzzfeed. Basically, he uses analytics to determine ways to make stories more shareable, when to share the stories and how.
- Data Detective. This one is also about data, something that is becoming increasingly important to journalism. Here is a video report produced during a Knight Journalism Fellowship that explores issues in this area.
- Curator in Chief. Beyond the influx of social media and data information, we’re confronted with too much of every type of information. Although it can be argued that all journalists curate information in some regard, some organizations are making curation a job. This Fast Company article talks about being a curator in chief.
- Explanatory Journalist. This type of person also deals with our overload of information; they help answer questions that news stories leave unanswered. For more about this idea, read a post on memeburn.com.
- Viral Meme Checker / Viral Video Maker. Going viral is something everyone wants, even journalists these days. New York Magazine also talks about how one journalist spends his time creating highlight snippets with the most linkability.
- Slideshow Specialist. Slideshows are also popular on the web. People who make awesome slideshows require someone who can write and create visuals.
- Networker / Engager. Many journalists already spend hours a day networking and creating engagement using social media. New York Magzine also talks about the engagement editor for ProPoblia who uses crowd-sourcing to involve more people in journalism. More organizations are seeking people with an online presence to fill their empty positions.
- E-Book Creator. As Robert Niles points out on The Online Journalism Review blog, ebooks are one of the few forms of online media that people are willing to pay for.
- Web Developer. Many news organizations are looking to hire web developers, as pointed out by Andy Boyle on his blog. Journalism schools probably aren’t teaching this skills, but most developers are self-taught anyway.
For journalists thinking about the future, learning digital skills and being open to new things seem to be common themes of success.
What skills or jobs do you think journalists might have in the future? Have you figured out what you want in a journalism job?
Photo Credit: Chuckumentary