What skills do you need to succeed in your journalism career?

A generation ago, the skills you needed as a journalist were well-defined. If you were going to work in a print newsroom, you needed to know how to report and write. If you wanted to work in photojournalism, you needed to develop still photography and photo editing skills. Videographers needed to know how to shoot and edit video. Broadcast journalists needed to develop the ability to speak on-air with confidence and authority.


Many journalists, including everyone working as journalist/entrepreneur, need to know all that – and much more. To aid me in planning coverage on OJR for the upcoming academic year, I’d love to hear from you which skills you feel you have mastered, and which ones you want additional help developing.

A few points, before we get to the vote: First, I’m just going to assume that everyone’s got basic reporting, text writing and copy editing, so those aren’t listed as options. Next, I do not wish to infer that everyone needs to develop all of these skills. Many journalists continue to work in newsrooms where they are expected to specialize. And even independent journalists often can rely on networks, contractors, vendors and open source solutions to cover many of their publishing needs. So if you don’t want help with a particular skill, just leave the box next to it blank.

But the more skills you develop, the more freedom and flexibility you have as a journalist in the online publishing market. I know personally OJR readers who’ve mastered each of the skills listed below, so if you do want to add more to your journalism repertoire, your fellow readers have the capacity to help.

So let’s see where we’re at, shall we? I’ve split this into two votes. In the first, please mark the boxes next to each of the skills that you feel you’ve mastered at this point in your career. In the second, please mark the boxes next to the skills you’d like help developing. Leave those skills you don’t care to develop, or don’t feel you need help with, blank.

And please, forward today’s article link to colleagues and friends in the industry, so that we can include their responses, as well.

If you’d like to clarify your response, or add thoughts about additional skills you’d like to discuss, please do so in the comments. Comments on OJR are moderated, so if you’ve not had a comment approved before, there will be a delay before your comment appears.

Thank you for reading OJR!

About Robert Niles

Robert Niles is the former editor of OJR, and no longer associated with the site. You may find him now at http://www.sensibletalk.com.