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Future of High Quality Journalism Will Demand Great Talent

Just about three years ago, I made a pitch saying there was room and, indeed, a big need in journalism for students who want to specialize and not be a Jack or Jane of All Trades. My pitch focused on great nonfiction writing. I wrote:

My advice to the journalism student who wants to be a great writer above all else is to then concentrate your energies in that area. Get some exposure to the other media, but don’t let them turn you into another cog in the machine. Seek your passion. Do all that is necessary to become a great literary journalist, our democracy for sure, and maybe our trade, needs you as much and probably more than we do need all the jacks of all trades.

Today I would give that advice, more than ever, to students who really see themselves one day being great writers, photographers, videographers or designers. I again come to that conclusion after perusing Journalistics list of Top 5 Newspaper and Magazine iPad Apps

It is obvious from watching the Esquire and Time Magazine demos below that high quality design, writing, photography and video will win the day. The iTablets provide a fantastic showcase for first-rate talent — and that talent will be in demand. Yes, the majority of jobs will be there for the one-person-band reporter a la, but that does not mean that the perfectionist, the best of the best will no longer have a place on the nonfiction journalism continuum.

Here is what I wrote three years ago, and I believe it now more than ever:

The vast majority of people in the news business are reporters, they collect facts and write them in a coherent fashion. These fact collectors could shoot some photos, put together some audio and video, and have a better story than if they were just transferring notes to story copy. They are on the straight news side of the continuum. As we move across the continuum past the feature writer towards the literary nonfiction writer, we have a different breed of writers with different abilities and skill sets.

These writers see the world in ways most of the rest of us cannot. It takes practice and it takes time because they do far more reporting and research than the reporter who runs out and collects information and instantly pushes it into the paper or onto the web. It requires the ability to see little details, nuances. Once that writer has to start fumbling around with a camera and tape-recorder and spend times editing all those pieces together, there is little time for the finely crafted written story.

Here are two iPad journalism demos. Ask yourself who will best survive in this new era?

One Response to “Future of High Quality Journalism Will Demand Great Talent”

  1. Apple Apps « Reporting & Writing for Online Media Says:

    [...] is such an opportunity. This blog post about magazine iPod and iPad apps is particularly interesting. I encourage you to watch their app [...]