The New Reality for Journalists: Continuing Education

A guest post from Sherri Vasquez, host of Latin View on Colorado Public Television.

Gone are the days when news reporters were regarded as professional journalists, government watchdogs, and the guardians of public interest. In today’s fast-changing world of new media technologies, news organizations want web developers, videographers, and social media marketers who can report.
A Denver television station recently posted a job opening for a multi-media producer, saying journalism degree “preferred” but web publishing and streaming required.
So if you suffered through college courses on journalism ethics and law to earn a degree, toss it on the shelf and enroll in some quick classes on web writing and publishing, shooting and editing video, and distributing news on a growing number of social media sites.
Newspapers, which often had guilds akin to unions, frowned on reporters performing tasks other than writing and editing. Like the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, many died a slow death over the years as the World Wide Web gained ground in distributing news and collecting ad revenue.
Some print journalists went on to earn advanced degrees in other fields like marketing communications, but again the web changed the way the profession operates, leaving old-school marketers with obsolete master’s degrees struggling to learn technical skills today’s teens take for granted.
Now it seems anyone with a cell phone can call oneself a news photographer and reporter. Webcams can even turn an average citizen into a news anchor.
But old newshounds take heart, because there is always a need for good reporting based on facts, research and solid writing. Almost anyone can write their thoughts and post it on the web, but not everyone can be an online journalist.
And since everyone seems to be marketing something on social media these days, take a few classes in web marketing and social media and start marketing your experience and expertise as a credible and respected news professional.
While adding web, video and social media skills may seem sufficient for the new world of news media, consider taking some classes on the Spanish language and diverse Hispanic cultures. Just this week ABC News announced it is partnering with Univision to launch a 24-hour cable news channel aimed at U.S. Hispanics.
Sherri Vasquez, host of Latin View on Colorado Public Television and PBS stations around the country, hold a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in applied communication. More importantly, she is a perpetual student earning a certificate in web marketing and social media at Boulder Digital Arts.

One comment on “The New Reality for Journalists: Continuing Education

  1. Spot-on post, Sherri! I agree with all you wrote, speaking as a journalist forced to reinvent himself despite himself. My own evolution started in the late 90s, when I made an ill-fated leap to newsletter publishing. I was confronted with Quark there and I had no one to train me. Then to an engineering firm where I spent years being confounded by Microsoft Word.
    Happily, today I can say I have mastered most of Office, am self-taught on the basics of Photoshop, and somewhat adept in HTML and the cheap version of the video editing program Sony Vegas!
    I still question whether there was anything that newspapers like the Rocky could have done differently. There after all is a time to be born and a time to die, regardless of the treatment applied.

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