Editors: ‘Traditional skills more important than new media’
Editors involved in a review of the National Council for Training of Journalists’ NCE qualification for senior journalists have urged the training body to continue emphasising traditional journalism skills over the use of new media.More than 100 editors and senior managers were asked to assess the importance of skills ranging from legal understanding to how journalists use social media.The top four most important skills cited by editors were: writing, finding news stories, interviewing and legal knowledge – while at the bottom of the list came social media, web skills and interaction with readers.
However, I’d be amazed if all editors really saw things as narrowly as this – after all, they are journalists and we’re trained to see the angles in everything.
Surveys can be so one-dimensional and I cannot imagine many editors who have believe the frankly-ludicrous Interview part of the NCE is more useful than web skills. Or video. Or an ability to moonwalk, to be honest.
I used to act as an ‘observer’ on the interview part of the exam (yes I was that shadowy figure who at in the corner and never spoke) and I can honestly say all that part of the day ever did was teach journalists to fire questions like ‘and did anything unusual happen during the rescue?’ in a most un-real world manner, simply because the candidates all knew there was always a hidden nugget of information – like, the guinea pig alerted the family to the fire or the rugby team was actually a women’s XV, lawdblessmysoul!
Another editor’s comment that stood out for me as this one:
“I think the exam is still about fundamental journalistic standards – it is not a test of Facebook and Twitter skills or, for that matter, audio and video,” commented one editor. They have their place but they are not as important as the underlying principles of accuracy, objectivity, balance and news sense. The NCE should be about testing those.”
How must that editor’s digital team feel? Less than valued, I’d imagine, if they knew what their boss really thought of them.
As a digital journalist, you have more skills than most of your colleagues: your toolbox includes soundslides, video, running multiple social media accounts, creating unique online content, and the ability to rewrite (or just write) webheads that are SEO-ed, add photographs, embed multimedia, move the the sports pages football splash out of the Tennis story list where it’s inexplicably ended up, the list goes on.
If an editor doesn’t think that’s at least as important as what’s being done elsewhere in the newsroom, what sort of message does it send out?
Full post here