Posts Tagged 'training'

Regional newspapers do not produce good journalists…

…or at least that was the opinion of one desk editor from a national newspaper that I met during my London trip.

I had asked him why there were not more regional journalists breaking into the nationals.

His response was that staffing cuts at regional and local newspapers meant journalists at that level were not given the time to develop proper investigative and writing skills.

“We no longer see the regional newspapers as a source for staff,” he said. “We find that training graduates ourselves produces better journalists.”

He added that they had a few regional journalists who were trying to break in to London by working shifts, but they didn’t have the skills the newspaper demanded from someone with a staff job.

This had me reeling.

I had always been told that regional journalism was one of the best ways to cut your teeth in the trade and could – if you wanted it to and were good – pave a way for a career in the nationals.

Now it seems national newspapers may regard themselves as an entirely seperate industry.

Is it really the case that regional newspapers no longer train good journalists?

From dino to digi in five days!

I have a job interview on Monday.

It is at The Birmingham Post and the job title is “Development Editor”. It would be overseeing innovation and the development of new platforms for the newspaper.

I wasn’t going to say anything about it, as by telling the world I run the risk of potentially having that toe-curling moment when I have to tell everyone that I didn’t get the job.

But, when I saw the presentation I had to make, I thought it was worth sharing. I have already chatted about it to a few friends, so why not go the whole hog and put it up online?!

I have to outline a training course that would convert traditional print journalists into “fully-equipped and knowledgeable multi-media, multi-platform journalists” in just five days.

Not much then.

Despite my initial reaction being “it’s impossible”, trying to devise such a course is actually a great way to get the brain cells into gear. The last few months I have been immersing myself in all that is new and shiny on the web and, as a result, my way of thinking about the future of journalism has changed.

But do I have the ability to take a step back from that and assess where the industry is at the moment and what skills print journalists will need to have a share in that future? If I can, can I describe that transition in logical steps – as you would have to in a training course.

I hope the answer is yes.

What occurs to me is that the biggest battle is not the training in the use of tools such as , but the understanding of why you might want, or need, to use them.

It is a horrid thing when someone is told that the skills they have perfected over many years are no longer enough to survive in their industry and that the market and the competition has changed.

I guess the only way to acceptance is understanding, so my training course would start with at least a day investigating trends in the UK newspaper market and the rise in online competition. Perhaps a bit on insight into the best journalism on blogs too – which might open up the issue of the importance of conversation.

All too often the Internet comes across as the bad guy – the place where people read our stories for free and don’t have the decency to buy a paper. So, I think, there has to be a day dedicated to making sure journalists also know how much the web can benefit them in their jobs – that RSS Feeds, searches, alerts, etc. are all ways to make tracking down stories easier.

Then, and only then, would I get down to the business at looking at producing multi-platform content – experimenting with the best ways of communicating a particular message online.

It would be great to do a breaking news story exercise at the beginning and the end of the course to see if thinking had changed.

As you can see, I haven’t fully formed a training course yet but will be spending my weekend pondering! I’ll let you know how it goes…

What videos by The Post will not look like…

…otherwise I will be hanging my head in shame.

This was dug up by Paul Bradshaw on his Online Journalism Blog and is the 60-second update from the Reading Evening Post:

[Edit: Is it just me or can you hear a female voice saying “lovely jubbley” at the end of the piece?!]

And it seems the crazy transitions and cutting your reporters’ off before they’ve finished are both techniques employed elsewhere on their site:

I don’t blame the journos though (although someone has terrible taste in music and graphics). This smacks of poor training. Notice that the script sounds like it was written for print, not for video.

I hate the way that some people just expect that because you write the news you’re also going to be happy with and capable of presenting it on camera. It’s not true. Personally I’m skin-crawling-ly uncomfortable infront of a lens. I realise it’s something I will have to get used to and, when the inevitable comes, I hope, at the very least, I will have been given the right training to help me do it.


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