Class Blog Discussion: The Job Market

Multimediaites —

It’s never to early to be thinking about the job market (even if you’re not a graduating senior 🙂

And, if you’re a junior, you should seriously find a way to fit in BJ Roche’s Journalism Launchpad class into your schedule next year.

You can never read enough on how to interview and how to prepare for an interview.  Friend and former colleague Mark Stencel, now the managing editor for digital news at NPR, recently wrote this piece exploring how to answer the question about how employers rate the “digital competence of job applicants.”  Mark is one of the smarter digital journalists out there these days so give some thought to what he writes.

Please read this column and then interview yourself and respond to Mark’s queries on the comments board of this blog post.  Answer his questions and rate yourself.  What areas do you need to address?  More importantly, do you agree with Mark that these areas need to be addressed?  Based on Mark’s criteria, would you hire  yourself?

Deadline:  Start of class Thursday.


This entry was posted in blogging, interviewing, jobs, Mark Stencel, Multimedia Journalism Class, social media, Twitter and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Class Blog Discussion: The Job Market

  1. Here is my self-evaluation of my technological aptitude that i might be questioned on in an interview.

    1. What does the “B” word stand for, and please explain why it’s important for a journalist in today’s media world to know what it is.

    Answer: The “B” word stands for Blog. A blog is traditional thought of as a Web site that can either be a amateur or professional medium in which an individual can express their opinions and thoughts on whatever topic they choose. However, a blog isn’t limited to this general definition. A blog can also be a medium in which a professional journalist or organization can publish factual, timely and insightful information on the latest issues and stories surrounding a particular field. I operate my own blog, which I operate as a professional Web site, providing up-to-date news and event coverage of the German automobile industry.

    2. What is the best story or information you have received from Twitter or other social media outlet? What is the most interesting or useful person you follow?

    Answer: I get lots of story idea from my Twitter feed. I subscribe to numerous automotive publications around the world. I often will see breaking news on Twitter about a new car that’s set to be debuted or slated to go into production. After seeing the Tweet I will visit other Web sites, including the manufacturers official news Web site and create my own story from there. Sometimes the story is simply talking about the debut or announcement that has been made, while other times I write a factual opinion piece on the vehicle or decision the manufacturer has made.

    I have a number of people/organizations that I follow on Twitter, and would consider to be very helpful or useful. These include the actual manufacturer Twitter pages such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW. I also find high quality print publications such as Autocar and Evo magazine in Great Britain, Car and Driver in the U.S. to be extremely helpful in providing information that I don’t have access to.

  2. reroberts says:

    When addressing fear of the ‘b’ word, Mark notes that many professional journalists still dismiss blogging. I’m embarrassed to say that before taking multimedia journalism, I was guilty of thinking that most blogs were people spewing off random stories and ranting about their daily lives. Obviously this is far from true. Last summer I randomly came across a witty blogger known as the Annoyed Librarian, which I enjoy from time to time. After reading Mindy McAdam’s blog section in her Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, I decided to check out “the best of blogs” at I enjoy reading posts from the blogs that make it up there, and though I should, I have not consistently followed the same one.

    I would say the best story or information that I’ve received from Twitter would be a tweet that links out to more information or gives me a perspective that I would not otherwise be able to hear. The 140-character limit forces users to be concise and link out, which is great practice for a journalist. When Egypt was fighting for Mubarak to step down #Egypt was moving so quickly on my tweetdeck that I couldn’t possibly read a tweet before it disappeared. However, going back through and reading posts by the Egyptian people gives me exactly what I want as a journalism student: first-person accounts of chaos and a look into the lives of those who are being affected. The internet was shut down, yet information was still coming out.

    I would have to say the most interesting and useful person I follow on twitter is Nick Kristof. I signed up for Twitter specifically for this class, which included following around 12 journalists. While most professional journalists are able to tweet by mixing information and personal voice, Kristof does so constantly. It also helps that his Facebook page provides even more information than the tweets.

    As for Apps, I have your common news outlets: BBC and CNN, for local news MassLive. I Shazam songs on the radio that I’ve never heard and keep track of gas tracker through Mileage, but haven’t had experience with Gowalla or Foursquare. I use my Twitter app from time to time (though I prefer tweetdeck) and have experimented with twitgoo to add pictures to tweets.

    It sounds crazy to say, but based on Mark’s criteria I don’t think I would hire myself. I’ve got a good start, but need to become more familiar with social media networks and the world of blogging. The fields of news and communications are constantly changing, so I feel that you really need to throw yourself into the whole mix to be completely “Webby”.

  3. jlvarney says:

    I would say before I took this class, I wouldn’t have hired myself, but after this class I would. This class has taught me what I see over and over again are necessary multimedia skills needed to work in the field of journalism. I have just become aware of how powerful a tool twitter is for journalists, although I am still building my follower list. Twitter is useful for broadcasting news and gathering news. The more I become familiar with it now, the more of a skill it will be to a future employer.
    Blogging is also an important tool for journalists. I have my own blog for class and to showcase my journalism work. I am confident I could show my future employer my own blog or the Web site for which I am an editor and it will showcase my all my journalism skills: writing, editing, videography and photography, as well as social media.

  4. juxtapolaris says:

    I’m not afraid of blogs, social media, or technology. Like any superficial medium, they’re only as powerful as one makes them. For journalists, the freelance publication opportunities offered by the web are excellent practice and aid in creating a vast network of information and sources. I can only claim to read the blogs of my peers and others that relate to the subjects I’m interested in. This is O.K. It helps a journalist carve out their niche and becoming more of an authority in their field. Thanks to the encouragement of my professors, both past and present, I do indeed have a blog.

    The most interesting person I follow on Twitter is without a doubt Evan C. Hill, an Al Jazeera English online producer. His tweets from Cairo in January and February we some of the most captivating pieces of on the scene journalism I’ve ever read. They helped enormously in my writings about the period. Currently, his tweets from Libya are just as engaging.

    Something has to be said about my mobile capabilities. I have no experience with mobile tools (smart phones, laptops, etc.) I understand the importance of these tools, especially in travel, but compared to my peers I’m light years behind. I’ve never sent a text and wouldn’t even know how to.

    The old school journalism skills are still the most important. I believe I possess them but need the right motivation for them to take full bloom. From what I can evaluate from my work is that I do see good story ideas that break conventions and are original. However, I think I have yet to “blow minds”.

    Conclusion: I’d be a decent catch for a new recruit; go anywhere, talk to anyone, get the photos, videos, and stories. The only thing is I’ll need a partner to come along to teach me how to use a GPS app or post a tweet via texting.

  5. As of this moment I believe I need to become more engaged in several of these criteria to be worthy of hire. My transition into the blogging world was a very hesitant one. Last year, for a class, I started a blog dealing with the performing arts. This made the transition a bit easier because I enjoyed the subject matter. Now, while I have a blog of my own for this course, I feel as if I should create one separate from what is required of me to continue practicing. I also need to discover more blogs to model my own after, or to be inspired by. Twitter is also still a very new concept to me. I fully understand the importance of twitter, but I need to force myself to get more involved. This will require me to dedicate at least a strong portion of every day to my computer screen, which will be the most difficult aspect of this transition into being worthy of hire. I believe that my use of traditional journalistic skills has become much stronger as well as creative story ideas. Overall I believe that in this moment I would not hire myself, but if I continue in the right direction I would be a good asset to a news organization.

  6. If I were to go strictly by the questions being asked here, I feel that I am good at only one of them. The question about the old school journalistic skill I feel would be my strong suit. This class has brought to my attention how deficient my experience with blogging and twitter really is. The blogs that I have written in are ones that I have been required to make for journalism classes. Twitter was just a tool to keep up on sports news a bit faster than on other websites. Now, after taking this class and reading this article, I am beginning to see just how important the tools of twitter and blogging really are in the modern journalist’s arsenal. So, as it stands right now, I would have to say that I would lose out on a job to a more experienced person, but now that I am armed with the information of what it takes to succeed in today’s world of journalism, I feel that I can quickly makes the necessary strides towards becoming a successful journalist.

  7. Noelle Richard says:

    After going through Mark Sencel’s criteria, I would have to admit that I would not hire myself. I recently started the journalism major last semester and I am new to using social networks such as Twitter Facebook and blog websites as a journalistic tool. Before this class, I did not consider them proper places to find news worthy information.

    At first, I thought social networks such as Twitter and blogs were a place for any person to go a talk about thier day, or rant about some craze they are on. However, I now know that with proper search tools and hashtags, I am able to draw myself away from “social” stereotype of these social networks and pay more attention to a more news based outlet.

    I have also learned that blogging and tweeting are a great way to showcase your work to potential employers.

    My favorite person to follow on Twitter would have to be Heather Unruh from Newscenter 5 in Boston. Every morning throughout middle school and high school, as I would get ready and eat breakfast, I would watch Heather’s broadcast. She is one of my idols. Since being in western Mass, it is hard for me to watch her because news sources around here are mainly based in Springfield. Following her on Twitter allows me to still follow my daily routine of when I was a young girl and inspired to persue a career in news broadcasting.

  8. curtbloom says:

    After reading this I would like to say that these are some very good tips.

    That being said I would start with the blog question. I would be able to say that I have my own blog and show my work but I do not stay connected to other blogs as much as I probably should.

    When it comes to mobile apps and twitter, I like to fiddle around with new ideas and programs alike, so I would be able to keep the boss updated on these sort of things.

    I don’t know too much about the old school journalism practices.

    I believe I would be able to spot what a good story looks like and try my best to follow suit (good story wise) but in my own creative way.

    Multimedia journalism has been a great challenge for me and I am happy to have taken the course. Prior to this course there is no way I would hire myself, but after all I have learned through observations and trial and error, I would give myself a chance.

  9. jchambers12 says:

    While reading the following column “Digital Competence of Job Applicants” by Mark Stencel, I realized that I wouldn’t hire myself prior to this multimedia class. While I knew that the “B word” meant blogs, I knew what blogs were and had one for Journalism 201 last fall. However, I was still very lost on how to utilize one and what a blog was really for. These days I find myself reading blogs more than news sites. I’ve realized that most blogs aren’t random people spurting out random facts and rants regarding their personal interests. Besides this class, I have created another blog based on my personal interests and to demonstrate to future employers that I know how to use blogs, use links, use photos/videos, and anything else a blog needs. I read blogs daily including The Huffington Post.
    I didn’t use Twitter before this class and I am still a bit lost on how to actually use the social media site. I feel more comfortable with Twitter nowadays then I did before. I actually watched my tweetdeck following the Japan Earthquake and barely could keep up with the #Japan feed. I feel like I use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to learn quick updated facts regarding the news. I plan over the summer is to play around with Twitter more and find the real use of the site since I am still confused on it so that I can be a valuable candidate for future employers.
    Personally, having a blog these days I feel like I find myself finding more opportunities to find good stories that are newsworthy to a certain niche in the world. I find myself being quick with the ideas and at least writing them down before I forget. The world is moving at such a fast paced that being a journalist these days we have to keep finding ways to keep up with it, right now that’s the web and social media sites.
    I believe with another year in college I will learn more innovative ways to use all the resources the web and new media is allowing for young journalists to perform at their best.

  10. arwaldma says:

    Mark Stencel’s piece was very insightful. Finding a job is not easy and half the battle is understanding what the employer is looking for, while the other half is having the necessary skills to perform the job. After reading this post, I would be skeptical to hire myself. Blogging is something that really catches my interest. I read everything from news blogs to music blogs, but I can’t say that I read news blogs that are off the beat and path from large news organizations. And music blogs, although usually the best place to find new music, aren’t really practicing journalism. However, music blogs are automatically intertwined with multimedia aspects, with embedded mp3 players and links to download free music. Its something I see myself doing and something this multimedia class has pushed me towards.

    The micro-blogging aspects of Twitter are an important tool for journalism. As Stencel says that a journalist who doesn’t identify potential sources through social networks is like a “beat reporter whose afraid to use a phone”. As of right now, I don’t utilze Twitter as much as I should.

    One thing that scares me is that I have no idea what the next Twitter might be. With already so many social media platforms, its hard to envision what direction social media may go. If I was in a job interview, I would like to show a potential employee that I have a vision for the direction journalism is going. Right now, I would be lying if I said I did.

  11. Mark Stencel says:

    Grateful to see all of these candid, thoughtful replies to my blog musings — even if my original posting fell into the category of “random people spurting out random facts and rants” that Jackie mentioned in her answer above.

    The same “hesitancy about blogging and social media” many of you described here is still amazingly widespread in our business. When Noelle, for instance, says she initially did not consider blogs and Twitter to be “proper places to find newsworthy information,” she could be speaking for any number of my current and former colleagues — even among some of the people who are working in online news today.

    All of this underscores where the opportunities are for you in the news biz. The extent to which you devote time and energy to using and monitoring and experimenting with the ways news is disseminated and absorbed, you will gain ground on those who resist or reject those sources and platforms. And your experience will give you the ideas that will help our industry evolve.

    Thank you again. I appreciated all of your responses.

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