Elizabeth R. Miller over at the Knight Blog compiled some advice for new journalists trying to get a job. The tidbits come from Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news at The New York Times, and Cindy Royal, associate professor at School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University, during a SXSW panel.
The whole list is worth a read, but what stood out to me was this advice:
1. Lose the jack of all trades. Go deep with one tech skill
A lot of students are coming out of universities prepared to do several things moderately well, Pilhofer said. “It’s both fortunate and unfortunate – it’s unfortunate because you aren’t seeing specialists… the ‘jack of all trades’ approach has a limiting factor built into it.”Instead of encouraging students to learn a little bit of everything, he advised that it is better to be extremely well versed and develop technical skills in one particular area, whether it’s audio, video, web design, etc.
So many times, young journos are told they have to master everything — social media, programming, blogging, SEO, etc. — it’s refreshing to see the perspective that specialization is a trait to strive for. It’s something I envision more and more news orgs will be doing as well, as niche targeting becomes not just the norm but a necessity for survival.
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