Traditional Media Organizations Increasingly Hiring Journalists With Multiple Skills

By Kelsey Semien

“Basically, whomever we hire next, if it’s a reporter, they have to be a multimedia journalist. Someone who is, if not skilled, at least adaptable to handle all social media that we know right now.” — Lynda Page,  the assignment editor at one of the news broadcasting stations in Memphis, FOX 13.

Like many other media outlets, FOX has redesigned their news gathering processes and distribution with the advent of the web. A few years ago, you probably wouldn’t have predicted a TV station would have a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. Now just about every station in the country has some sort of presence in social media.

As far as FOX is concerned, the content hasn’t changed, but the way they cover it has. The Facebook page plays a large role in what is covered and placed in the rundown for the 5, 9, and 10 o clock news. If something on Facebook does well, meaning if it gets a lot of likes and shares, it will more than likely go in the broadcast.

Also there are new things called “x-Pads” that FOX is introducing. Reporters are going on stories by themselves with x-Pads and shooting everything solo, even stand ups. The x-Pad is basically an iPad that has been turned into a camera with a tripod, microphone and light.  FOX still uses photogs, but they have less of them because of the x-Pad.

“The news industry is starting to condense jobs. Where you would have three people doing three different things, now you have one person doing three different things,” my dad, John Semien, City Editor for the Jackson Sun, in Jackson, Tennessee, said.

The Sun, as locals call it, is newspaper that is part of a large chain of media outlets owned by Gannet. The Sun has seen a tremendous amount of layoffs over the past six years due to disruption in the industry. They have responded to the changes in media in a similar fashion as FOX. Reporters for the Jackson Sun are required to have an iPhone and Twitter account, and the Sun’s website is updated regularly.

There is an integration in resources that is taking place now. These media outlets have tried to find a way to keep their content the same and keep their readers. They still cover the same topics and issues, they just distribute and gather it differently.  In order to follow the readers to where they are, they go to these social media sites and post the same content that would broadcast on air or be printed in the paper.

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