Editor & Publisher columnist Steve Outing says it now seems likely that some newspapers will abandon print, or be forced to, and asks: "What might a digital local news operation look like, and what tools and skills will be required?"
Outing accepts that the digital newsroom will have a much reduced staff and considers what it will take to survive the job cuts and concludes: "Certainly an understanding of, and probably enthusiasm for, new forms of media and storytelling."
He says: "The transformed newsroom will be filled with multi-functional journalists who are comfortable carrying around a digital camera and tiny video camera; who make it part of their routine to record audio for possible use in podcasts or multimedia project sound clips; who are regular users of social networks and understand how to leverage them to communicate with and attract new readers, and share some personal information about themselves as well as promote their work; and who are comfortable and willing to put in the time to engage and communicate with their readers or viewers, including participating in reader comment threads accompanying their stories."
Outing suggests: "Journalists clinging to notions of narrow job descriptions and who still hold dear many of the old ways of doing things for print are unlikely to be among those offered jobs in the downsized digital newsroom. To win one of these jobs, extreme flexibility and the love of learning and a challenge will be qualities that hiring managers will seek.
"I suspect that may make this digital newsroom younger than today's print newsrooms, yet I know plenty of older journalists who revel in the media transformation and 24/7 nature of today's news, and young journalists just out of college who still think conservatively. So don't count out seeing some gray hair in the digital newsroom, though not as much."
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