The blog formerly known as The Dobbs Method

Mashable’s “8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist” Plus One

Posted in Journalism by Taylor Dobbs on 02/08/2010

Social Media news site Mashable put out a post naming 8 traits that all journalists should have in tomorrow’s world of journalism. It was a great story, and is definitely on track to being right on, as journalists and organizations that have these traits are already seeing higher success than those who are slower to adapt. Most of the traits are essentially in reaction to a shrinking journalism workforce, but their 8th point is key, and often marginalized in discussion of journalism in the internet age. Click the link above for elaboration, but these are the eight traits listed:

  1. Entrepreneurial and Business Savvy
  2. Programmer
  3. Open-minded Experimenter
  4. Multimedia Storyteller
  5. The Social Journalist and Community Builder
  6. Blogger and Curator
  7. Multi-skilled
  8. Fundamental Journalism Skills

I’d say this list is very good, based on what I’ve seen. Another item that might be added, though, is specialization. While the media through which journalists give information is clearly becoming more dynamic with online video and audio, the road to credibility is increasingly hard to travel in the internet age. With the erosion of gatekeeping organizations, anyone, however qualified or deserving, can write about anything and be published for the same audience as the most qualified of professionals.

My #9: The Beat is Back! It’s going to be difficult to gauge someone’s credibility on a topic in an age when even the most credible of journalists are posting in personal blogs. The distinction will be made, I think, in a journalist’s focus. The more a journalist works a specific beat, the more connections they are able to keep (and maintain through social media tools), thus climbing the ladder in this field. Sure, the one-man show and  other small organizations are exempt here (and this a large portion of news orgs), but freelancers especially will need to develop a strong online portfolio in order to sell stories in a time when credibility is so central an issue.

Image Credit: reportr.net