Media Criticism Spring 2012

Part 1: Deconstructing Super Bowl Ads

How Journalists Now Need to be One-Man Bands

Posted on | April 30, 2012 | No Comments

Courtesy of Marywood University

A lot has changed since what skills journalists need to have. Traditional media has been taken over by the technology revolution. If journalists want to be successful or if someone just plans on becoming a journalist they have to prepare for the future. Through my journalism classes and my own observations I have seen this first hand. The problem is if future journalists don’t recognize the need to pick up these skills they will be left behind. My broadcast professor teaches us for the future. In my class we learn how to shoot and edit video. We learn how to record and edit audio for things like podcasts. We learn to anchor and utilize Youtube. We learn how to write and edit news stories and press releases. I was told that at a particular school that communication students obtaining a masters, was the first time they even touched a camera, let alone all the audio and software editing my class has done. Now if we both applied to the same job, who do you think we get it? This just goes to show that future journalists need to be trained properly for what’s ahead or else they could be left in the dust.


In an article from Mashable it writes about the 8 must-have traits for future journalists. The article says the first thing is you have to be business and entrepreneurial savvy. Today many journalists are starting their own sites. The article states,” They will have to understand how to pursue commercial opportunities relating to the content.” The next traits talk about being programmer by knowing computer code. Having these multimedia skills will help visually. The next is to be an “open-minded experimenter,” and “multimedia storyteller.” An “open-minded experimenter,” means to be able to follow trends in technology and to see what has potential. A “multimedia storyteller,” can tell stories through photos, video, text, audio and more, an increasingly important trait. The last few traits are to be able to build a community following, have fundamental journalism skills, blog, and be multi-skilled in different mediums. As you can see these all really rely on being very technologically savvy at utilizing all forms of technology to your advantage. A blog from Mediabistro emphases the skills journalists need for social media. Some of the skills suggested are live tweeting or blogging. This creates real time coverage of a story as it happens. Also, getting stories that are best suited for social media. It even says to create a Facebook fan page to give reader’s addition updates and information.

Courtesy of Jobspage


In the book Newsonomics: Twelve News Trends that will Shape the News You Get, author Ken Doctor writes about this issue with what he calls “Law No. 11: For Journalists’ Jobs, It’s Back to the Future.” It reinforces the idea of how more than ever journalists need these skills. Doctor (2010) writes about the massive layoffs that are occurring in traditional media. This is true, in a 2010 report by American Society of News Editors its states, “American daily newspapers lost another 5,200 jobs last year bringing the total loss of journalists since 2007 to 13,500.” Journalists are facing some tough times, and its only going to get harder. Doctor (2010) writes, “Right people. Right Jobs. Right skills. Those are the people who keep their jobs in cutbacks, and those who will get hired.” He also writes about how journalism schools are starting to teach these skills so their students are not irrelevant. I am a prime example as I said earlier my professor is aware of this and is teaching us accordingly. In a video on Vimeo, Murray from the Wall Street Journal,  sums up  perfectly what it takes to survive as a journalist today.

Click here to view the embedded video.


In a blog from Poynter the writer Al Tompkins talks to KGTV’s Joe Little who is considered to be a “one-man Band,” in that he reports, shoots, and edits all of his news packages by himself. This is what journalists are having to do these days. Doctor (2010) compares these skills to what the president has to do. The president has many different responsibilities that he has to accomplish daily and Doctor (2010) says, “If the president can multitask, journalists need to be able to move among thinking, writing, and communication quickly as well.” Little said in the blog, “The tricks I use are the same ones a good two-man crew would use. I have to do both of their jobs. I look for meaning, balance and creativity.” This is a growing trend everywhere. Another example is in a blog from Mediashare a journalist said a needed skill set is to be, “A multitasker, juggling various responsibilities and roles, many which may have nothing to do with “traditional” journalism.”

Courtesy of Journalism Project


All of this proves that Doctor’s (2010) “Law No. 11: For Journalists’ Jobs, It’s Back to the Future” is very real and for journalists they need to capitalize and be ready for the growing changes ahead. This is the first real revolutionary change in media and its going to take some time for them to get adjusted, but in this era you have to be a “one-man band” if you ever want to stay ahead of the jobless market.




Doctor, Ken. Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get. New York: St. Martin’s, 2010. Print.




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