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Why having technical skills alone just won't cut it

Last week’s post on the 30 skills every journalism graduate should learn this summer garnered attention for pointing out technology every newly-minted journalist should know. As several commenters suggested, the checklist is also applicable to established journalists, as is the following advice:

As this Yanko Design post points out, being a Jack of all trades is only the starting point. Journalism and its associated technologies are changing at a rapid pace and to learn one skill set is to be left in the dust. Sadly some of the technologies on the list will be obsolete in just a few years time. To survive in this industry means continuously evolving along with it.

This isn’t limited to veteran journalists either. There are many “new media” journalists who adopted an enviable skill set some years ago, but haven’t picked up anything new since. At the heart of a good new media journalist is flexibility and adaptability.

Additionally, it doesn’t matter if you have every new media skill in existence if no one knows you exist. This means having and distributing business cards, having an online portfolio and sharing it with others and not just accumulating lots of Twitter followers or LinkedIn connections but actually interacting with them and establishing contacts in and outside of the journalism sphere.

Most of all, success in journalism requires a strong grounding in the fundamentals: knowing how to write (well), how to interview, how to speak to others and how to quickly establish trust and relationships. Without these skills, there is no reason to even learn the technologies that are transforming the industry. Learning a slew of technical skills isn’t the answer, it’s just part of the journalism equation.


Also on 10,000 Words:

Journalism Grads: 30 Things You Should Do This Summer
The 20 Essential RSS Feeds for Multimedia Journalists
10 Things I wish they’d told me in J-School

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