Thursday, March 17, 2005

Convergence and reluctant reporters

I had a wonderful time at the College Media Advisers meeting yesterday. I'm the newest member of the professional advisers committee -- which has the redundant-sounding job of advising advisers about trends in journalism.
Of particular note from our gathering was the considerable attention given to convergence in the newsroom. (I'll take a second here to offer my congratulations to my alma mater, which seems to be embracing convergence as the core of its journalism program.) Convergence was also a hot topic when I visited Northwest Missouri State University last week. And what I keep hearing is that students -- the journalists of tomorrow -- aren't crazy about the idea.
It seems that students of today are every bit as delusional as I was when I was a kid, thinking that they are already experts in some particular area of interest, and that there's no need to pick up additional skills.
Certainly convergence is already a reality in the B2B press (and the community press) because the jack-of-all-trades journalist is the mainstay of any low-budget, small-staff operation.
But what I try to get across to students is that convergence and multitasking is also the norm in the mainstream press.
At CNN we had no need of reporters who couldn't record sound bites, or upload video to a Web site. At Bloomberg, reporters carried digital recorders with their notebooks, and everyone was required to be available for television stand-ups.
In the new media environment, journalists are more than just reporters or just photographers or just designers.
And I for one want nothing to do with the prospective employee who would limit his job to some small slice of the industry. Because such a person would ultimately limit my publication.

tags: , , , , , conversational media, ,

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