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The 10 basic web skills every journalist must have

by Mark S. Luckie

New technologies are being developed and adopted by newsrooms at what can seem like a frenetic rate. Even though the onslaught of technology can be intimidating, there are some skills that every journalist should have or at least be aware of in the digital era of news:

1. How to write an SEO-friendly headline

2. How to include a link in a story

3. How to upload a story into a content management system (CMS)

4. How to shoot a proper photograph

5. How to send an attachment in/download an attachment from an email

6. How to operate a video camera

7. How to hold a microphone properly

8. How to use an audio recorder

9. How to post a tweet

10. How to search the web effectively

Here’s a secret: even though journalists are being told they must be a multimedia jack-of-all-trades, in many newsrooms there are teams dedicated to various facets of multimedia who do all the heavy technical lifting, especially in larger newsrooms. The important thing, however, is to be familiar with the various technologies used in news and how they work. The skills listed above are things that many reporters are required to do or will encounter often in the course of their reporting.

There are various training resources available, including the Knight Digital Media Center workshops at UC Berkeley which immerse mid-career journalists in digital tools (and which I highly recommend). There’s also this list of do-it-yourself resources for reporters who are unable to attend workshops. Learning basic digital skills is not an option and should not be seen as opposition to traditional reporting duties.

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