Essential skills for the journalism student, as summarized by Mindy McAdams, a journalism prof at the University of Florida:
Journalists who can flourish in both the Web newsroom and the print newsroom today:
* Can package the news online.
* Can create original multimedia.
* Have solid journalism credentials.
* Have strong technical skills.
Journalists who expect to get a job will “walk in the door with”:
* A proficiency in Photoshop, HTML and blogging software.
* An understanding of Web publishing systems (content management systems).
* Experience in the production of multimedia — including the use of audio and video editing tools.
McAdams cites the NY Times Q&A with its online editor, a very interesting piece in its own right.
I would add two things: Curiosity and imagination. Web journalism will always change, and you need an interest in keeping up.
In its race to 2020-ify the school, I don’t think Medill hits the points above, even though it aims to do so. “Solid journalism credentials” is clearly a point of dispute. Also, despite the school’s endless supply of handouts, I don’t think Medill teaches students how to feel comfortable with multimedia and technology, to learn software and equipment on their own. Even with established tools, like Photoshop, and audio and video editing, I’ve found many students still uncomfortable — Medill classes somehow make those an unpleasant, confusing experience.