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#Tip: Check out this Storify on essential skills for journalism

November 28th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

This year’s Journalism Skills Conference from the NCTJ took place at Bournemouth University where editor Rachel Bartlett (née McAthy) joined a panel speaking about essential tools for journalists.

Prior to speaking, she crowdsourced some advice and opinions from Twitter on the subject and collected it in the Storify below.


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#Tip: Key skills, tools and pointers ‘for wannabe hacks’

May 21st, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Image by Jenn Durfey on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The WannabeHacks site, itself a useful resource for those interested in, and just starting out in, journalism as a career, has collected together a run through of some “essential skills”, which new reporters may find most valuable as they enter the industry. The post also highlights places to go to gather some of those skills, such as basic coding, if you do not already possess them.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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#Podcast: What skills do journalists need in the newsroom of 2013?

January 4th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism, Podcast, Training

Image by Jen Durfey on Flickr. Some rights reserved

In this week’s podcast technology editor Sarah Marshall speaks to key industry figures about the skills journalists need in today’s digital newsroom.

She speaks to:

  • Steve Herrmann, editor, BBC News Online
  • Alison Gow, editor of the Daily Post and, North Wales
  • Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news, New York Times
  • Mark Little, founder and chief executive of social news agency Storyful

The four share their advice on the skills needed, explaining why a journalist needs to be a jack of all trades, and tell us whether or not shorthand is still a required skill.

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the iTunes podcast feed.

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BetaTales: Print journalists, beware ‘the typographers’ trap’

December 9th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

What is the typographers’ trap and why do other print journalists need to know about it? A thoughtful post on skills, careers and a changing industry from BetaTales:

It describes how a group by wrongly trying to save the jobs of its members at the same time destroys its own profession.

Typographers used to hold an important position in editorial newspaper production. In the old days this was the group typesetting the newspaper pages.

Then the production process was digitalised. Suddenly anybody with basic design and computer skills could do the tasks the typographers used to have a monopoly of doing.

In fact the need for typographers in newspaper production was more or less wiped out in a very short time frame. As a result the profession disappeared in most countries.

Full post on BetaTales at this link…

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#WEFHamburg: Staff training in multimedia need motivation, direction, goals

October 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Training

There has been plenty of discussion about moving digital journalism forward at the World Editors Forum this week, and the first panel debate today looked at the state of new media training and how editors can improve the teaching of their staff to enable full exploitation of the new media environment.

Announcing the results of a survey mainly of North American journalists by the Poynter Institute’s News University, Howard Finberg told the conference that while reporters felt more proficient in multimedia than five years ago they need to be motivated to learn.

The number one motivator for success is “I need to learn”. You need to tell staff there is a reason why you’re getting the training, it’s because we need to move the organisation from here to here. Give them the reasons to learn, give them the background.

He added that “training cannot stop”.

We do not have the luxury of declaring victory and moving on, this is not mission accomplished. What your staff are telling us is that they need direction, they need goals.

Up next was Joyce Barnathan, president of the International Center for Journalists. In her speech she gave four recommendations to editors in summary below:

  1. Train your staff to engage your readers. In her example of, the site found that whenever citizen journalists posted their videos on the site “the web traffic would just shoot up”. Now the site relies on its citizens to surface stories and editors are able to cover under-represented communities.
  2. Train your staff to use new tools – “let me tell you that the benefit of a free web is that there are free resources that you can take full advantage of to make your website more interactive. Don’t have to have a huge budget to gain access to the technology” e.g. Factual,, Google fusion tables, Wordle.
  3. Train your staff to be experts in areas of intense interest to your readers – Expert reporters are able to find great stories in their field that others may not.
  4. Use the web to train, such as the ICFJ is doing with ICFJ Anywhere which enables the training of journalists in places where it would be difficult to send trainers.

She echoed Finberg in saying that media training is “a moving target”.

You can feel that you’ve learned the tools to get by today, but there are new tools coming out tomorrow. Journalism can be enhanced in this technological area and we can be better journalists if we embrace the new tools and new partnerships.

Finally the conference heard from Tarek Atia, media training manager for the Media Development Programme in Egypt which organises donor programs which have helped to train more than 4000 journalists in four years.

His lessons to trainers were:

  • It helps to be a journalist.
  • Certificates matter.
  • Be patient – “if we had thought after the first 10-20 workshops on the idea of local media, this isn’t working, then we wouldn’t be where we are today, which is that all of a sudden after two or three years of these courses, in late 2008, suddenly there was a breakthrough and several newspapers started producing local editions.”
  • Breakthroughs happen (see above).

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What’s in a journalism job ad? Analysing the skills required by employers

September 21st, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Jobs, Training

Following on from our laid-off report looking at journalism job losses and how the shape of the journalism workforce in the UK is changing, I thought it would be interesting to do a quick analysis of the job ads currently available on What requirements and skills are employers stipulating and which are the most popular?

(I took the text from job ads on the site that list requirements or candidate profiles and have tried to take out irrelevant words as much as possible)

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Tip of the day from – how to track online breaking news

November 20th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Top tips for journalists

Breaking news: want to know how to spot breaking news before your rivals? In London on November 21? Sign up for’s ‘Track breaking news online’ course here. Tipster: Laura Oliver.

To submit a tip to, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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