Mark Glaser, executive editor of PBS MediaShift

Below is a Q&A with Mark Glaser,  executive editor of PBS MediaShift. The interview was conducted Dec. 9, 2008.

What types of jobs are out there?

The types of jobs out there for young journalists require them to know more than just how to report a story in print or produce a story on TV. They need to be multi-talented on multiple platforms, and understand how to work the web. That means they should know how to report or edit a text story, shoot or produce a video or audio report (and appear in the report themselves), moderate community comments, and use online forums and comments sections and other social media to mine story ideas and sources.

What types of jobs have been scaled back?

I think jobs that are one-dimensional are being scaled back. Also newspaper columnists and arts critics will probably be scaled back in favor of bloggers who can better cover a niche area. Any jobs that are tied to legacy media are going to be suspect, unless the person in the job can evolve and adapt to a new digital reality and get the right skills, as I outlined above.

What sort of jobs will there be in the future?

In the future, journalism jobs will require the following skill sets:
> good reporting
> understanding of multimedia production and editing
> community moderation
> aggregating information from many online sources
> blogging about one particular niche subject

Realistically, what kinds of jobs can someone get right out of college?

These are starting to become more and more scarce. Journalists coming out of college should consider setting up their own website or blog on a subject that they can "own," a niche that can be profitable. That means understanding more than just writing and reporting; it means learning marketing skills, management skills and entrepreneurial skills. They should prepare for a future that could include a lot of freelance work and not as much full-time employment with benefits.

What skills do young journalists need and where can they get training?
As I mentioned above, they will need to learn to be multi-platform and have skills in reporting, text editing, on-air TV or video, on-air audio or radio, multimedia editing and production, online moderation, and social media interaction. Much of this training they can get just by doing it, or there is training at various colleges, community colleges or even places like Poynter U.

What can young journalists do to make themselves standout among other
interns or staff?

They should start their own blog or websites and show off their skills by writing, doing video blogs, running regular audio podcasts and involving their audience in their reporting and writing. Having their own showcase site -- that is successful in its own right -- is a good way to stand out. Check out as a good example of an NYU student who blogs and video blogs to stand out.

Do you have one piece of advice that new journalists shouldn't live without?
Be versatile and learn to be your own boss for freelancing.


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