Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Changing Face of Journalism: 6 New Jobs That Are Shaking Things Up

As society evolves, so does the modern journalist. In an age of media overload, Facebook updates, ever-changing iPhone Apps and constant Tweeting, traditional journalists are being forced to think outside the box.

The following new careers were brought to our attention by, a website created by journalists interested in educating future generations on using interactive media to strengthen their careers.

1. The Mobile Maven

Social media is a rapidly growing phenomenon - one that journalists should be encouraged to embrace. One aspect of social media that is getting a lot of hype is the idea of mobile media. Most social media sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc...) have an option to link your news feed to your cell phone. This would allow the subscriber to receive up-to-date information on their phones wherever they go. asked three organizations that already utilize mobile jobs what the people in these positions actually do.

"Above all, the mobile gurus at the Orlando Sentinel, CNN and serve as evangelists for the rapidly growing platform, making sure their peers are aware of the opportunities and challenges mobile presents and that mobile audiences possess different wants and needs than their print and Web counterparts.

More specific duties reported by the three outlets included monitoring and responding to metrics, ensuring social media efforts play nicely with mobile, researching app revenue models, crafting breaking news plans and serving as a liaison between the newsroom and marketing, sales and advertising departments."

2. The Multimedia Reporter

Journalists need to be a master of all trades. With constantly changing job descriptions and a generation of tech-savvy graduates flocking to the news rooms, a modern journalist has to take on more than ever before.

Modern reporters , above all else, be proficient in several multimedia tools. This includes insight and knowledge regarding how to connect to more readers.

3. The Jack or Jill of All Trades

Patch, the AOL-owned network of "hyperlocal sites" is one of the top companies changing the face of journalism. Hiring more aggressivley than any othedr news brand, this organization is built to adapt.

Journalists working for this company are expected to embrace the following:

"Work-from-home (or, maybe more likely, work-from-coffee shop) local editors receive a salary (reportedly around $40K), benefits, a freelancer budget and equipment including a laptop, smart phone, camera and police scanner. Finding and writing stories, taking photographs, shooting video, recruiting freelancers, editing freelancers' work, making sure freelancers get paid and interacting with the audience on social media and in the community, local editors take care of almost everything else that goes into covering a small community (Patch targets localities of 70,000 persons or fewer)."

While this may sound over whelming, it is providing a new generation of writers an opportunity to stretch their wings and make a name for themselves. Young, entrepreneurial journalists are jumping at the chance to re-define their profession in their own unique way.

4. The Online Content Guru

Audience engagement and multimedia operation are not just job qualifications for reporters - editors and web producers are also making rapid changes to their resumes.

"One example is this post for an online content editor for Gazette Communications in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The position involves many of the duties you’d expect to see in an editorial leadership role, but we think one key difference is the opening line:

This position is responsible for developing content, maintaining the voice and being the champion for and associated major social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook.

Here, you see not only the focus on social media, and thus audience engagement, but also attention being paid to the organization’s brand. Branding has become so important these days because your brand exists in a sea of many, and everyone wants a way to stand out."

5. The Online Engagement Specialist

Non-journalistic organizations are seeking to encorporate journalists into their field. More and more often, companies, nonprofits, and other organizations are creating a network of information based less on traditional media. These organizations are focusing more on the new media capabilities of modern journalists to spread the word about their company. This means more jobs for journalists who are willing to work in a non-traditional, public-relations style environment.

"One example is this posting from for an online engagement associate for the nonprofit, Green for All. The job posting says:

The ideal candidate is an Internet savvy professional, experienced with new and social media, email outreach, online advocacy and fundraising, online-to-offline mobilization strategies, and creating innovate campaigns to grow our online community and presence.

You may see this as a traditional public relations/marketing position, but like always, journalists can be a great fit in these positions because of their skill-sets. Plus, if you find a company or nonprofit that matches what you value, all the better."

6. The Journalist/Programmer

"The rise of journalist/programmers has been well documented. Masters of both database structure and story structure, journalist/programmers use their hybrid skillset to spot stories experts in only one area would miss and to tell them in ways more accessible and engaging than a stand-alone table or article.

Such workers, Mashable wrote earlier this year, "are bringing unprecedented value to both major and startup news organizations." Texas State University in San Marcos assistant professor Cindy Royal explored the professional subclass in detail in a case study of The New York Times Interactive News Technology department. How this new breed of journalist moves outlets away from mere multimedia pieces and toward truly interactive ones is among the topics her paper explores.

Precisely what a journalist/programmer does varies widely depending on the needs and resources of the organization. Some might focus exclusively on PHP, others exclusively on Flash. More likely, though, employees, as we've seen in the other jobs in this post, are generalists within their specialty."

To read the article, go to

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