The “Jack of All Trades” in the News World

With so much news content moving online, newspapers are continually downsizing their staff. I think we will continue to see this decline, because today, many reporters are being asked to produce their own story every step of the way. Journalists are taking their own pictures, writing their own stories, videoing their own stories, editing their own stories, etc. Today’s journalist can no longer be one-dimensional. To adapt in this digital world of laptops, cell phones with cameras and iPads, journalists must be completely self-sufficient. This style of Journalism is called Backpack Journalism. Backpack journalists are much more cost effective for news organizations because they can do the job of 5 people.

Backpack journalists must be adept at navigating digital communities as well as masters of technology. Backpack journalism is the ultimate media convergence because these journalists use audio, video, type, still photos, etc. to tell their stories. As newspapers continue to publish their stories on the Internet, they need backpack journalists to weave aesthetically pleasing stories to gain online newsreaders’ attention. Multi-media journalism allows consumers to become active participants in the stories they read. They can view pictures, watch video, comment about the stories, etc. Passive news platforms like newspapers and TV news programs allow very little communication between producer and consumer. This is another reason why backpack journalists are more successful in today’s digital world.

Many college journalism programs require their students to take courses in web and television to better prepare them for the changing news community. To find a job after graduation, journalism students need know every position and level a news story goes through. Then they need to know how to operate in those areas, as well. To be a successful journalist today, you must be well rounded and well versed in all areas of news production – a jack-of-all trades.

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