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6 Undeniable Attributes Needed Of The 'New Journalist'

The current digital media landscape requires a new definition of the journalist. See below what that definition entails, and why I believe I can fulfill it.

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1. The Bottom Line: Engaging. Content.

Before we look at how the New Journalist fits into the current media landscape, one important constant remains among the sea of variables: content remains king. Journalists will never shed themselves of the need to produce engaging content. The headline of any piece of work needs to compel the reader to click, flip the page, or touch the screen in anticipation of what lies behind it.

The focus of this listicle is on the ever-changing substance of that content, and how I believe I can provide and understand that variable.

2. A Broad Skill Set

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Once upon a time, a journalist only needed a newspaper and an investigative streak. If there could only be one difference between that person and the one required today, it would be that the range of skills required of the modern journalist is infinitely more varied.

Journalists should certainly still hold that investigative eye, but they need a number of other values as well. The New Journalist needs to be able to deftly navigate a variety of platforms - written, online, video, social media-based. Navigation of these platforms not only requires the ability to physically operate, but also the ability to manufacture content that aligns with their strengths and avoids their weaknesses.

As an entry-level digital journalist I believe I offer a 'swiss-army knife' qualification set. By next year I will have both law and media degrees. I have extensive experience in computer software and have worked as a paralegal. In addition, I am currently a shareholder in a startup company as a content aggregator. I believe I offer a varied, extremely unique skill-set for the current media landscape.

3. Understanding Media Platforms

The newspaper lives!

But it doesn't live alone. Media content is being distributed to consumers in ways that we couldn't have ever imagined. Social media has not only become a viable content source, it is becoming one of the most viable. It is important to grasp how readers consume content on these various platforms. A classic investigative print story won't engage readers perusing Twitter on their mobile phones. More than ever, journalists need to think about how their story looks and reads on various platforms.

I have had first-hand experience creating content for the startup media company CMN TV, which produces content for a number of online channels. In this role, I have learnt how to formulate content designed to engage the 'quick-twitch' reader - the consumer skimming briskly through their iPad. This is a difficult skill to learn, one that the newspaper journalist wasn't born with.

4. The New IT Guy

Imagine, 20 years ago, if the journalist who wrote the story had to print the newspaper too. The New Journalist must face this dilemma. We've entered an age where it is not enough to think of the idea; presentation is all-important. Obviously, with the advent of the internet and digital media platforms, this means a journalist with technical capabilities is almost a prerequisite for the job.

I have extensive experience in this field, most notably with WordPress and HTML coding. The New Journalist has to be their own tech help, and this is an area I can navigate well because of the skills I learnt at University and developed during my work as a content aggregator for CMN TV and as a Compliance Officer for MyVisa Law Firm.

5. But Remember... Old Can Still Be New

It's become all the rage to talk about how the media landscape is changing, and some would even suggest dying. But it's important to remember that sometimes old habits don't die quite as hard as we might have thought.

Newspapers still circulate daily and technologies we thought wouldn't last remain. One fascinating example might be the audio podcast. Once thought to be a gimmick, podcasts are seemingly coming back into value because we can listen to them while multitasking.

I believe it is important to have an understanding and appreciation of how these older technologies might still hold value, because acknowledging the worth of these various platforms is the key to producing worthwhile content.

6. Understanding The Future

It is inherently important in grappling with the current media landscape to understand that there is a future media landscape of equal, or perhaps greater, importance. In that sense, the New Journalist also needs to be Journalist of Tomorrow. The person who can understand how content will be curated next year will hold a powerful advantage over their competitors.

I try to stay as on top of the changing media landscape as possible, and one interesting area has been 'augmented reality'. The idea has already been explored and marketed by Google, Oculus Rift and Samsung, and will no doubt become an enormous technological force in the years to come. It would be foolish to expect that it wouldn't invade the media landscape, so it is important to recognise the technology and understand how it functions. The New Journalist will need to know it.

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