If I didn’t think coding and learning technical skills was important before reading these articles, I certainly do now. A common theme throughout all of the articles this week was the need for individuals who possess both technical and foundational skills within the journalism field. In Superpowers: The Digital Skills Media Leaders Say Newsrooms Need Going Forward the study found that “news organizations want to hire new kinds of journalists who combine coding, visual production and audience acquisition skills with traditional reporting competence and even a little entrepreneurial savvy.” As we continue to find ourselves more and more dependent of online platforms, news platforms are trying to find a viable business model to keep their publication profitable, or at least afloat; therefore they employees with the technical know-how to create a viable digital platform. Over the past decade publications have had no choice but to embrace the digital movement by integrating themselves into different social media platforms. Moving forward in this digital age for journalism will mean adopting an open and flexible mindset for change. The New York Times has been able to successfully implement this mindset within the company and has seen tremendous growth in their online sector. Their constant devotion to staying relevant and up-to-date on the trends and ways their readers engage in online media has made them successful. In “Journalism That Stands Apart,” the NY Times reports “The Times brought in almost $500 million in purely digital revenue, which is far more than the digital revenues reported by many other leading publications (including BuzzFeed, The Guardian and The Washington Post) — combined.” The evolution of online journalism is constantly changing, so companies need to be able to adapt quickly in the environment by creating a culture that allows innovation and creativity.
Aside from being adaptable, companies also need to recognize the sheer magnitude that social media, Facebook in particular, now plays in the world of journalism. Bell and Owen describe the influence of social media platforms and tech companies as “having a greater effect on American journalism than even the shift from print to digital.” They continued by stating “over 62 percent of the US population gets news from some form of social media, with Facebook the dominant source.” The integration of social media and journalism has become the industry norm. People no longer watch the evening news, but instead check Facebook or Twitter for live updates on what is going on in the world.
The importance of data and programming are only going to get more important as we continue to delve further into the digital evolution. In Aaron Chimbel’s post on the importance of baseline understanding of coding for journalism students, he argues that “What is important is for students who don’t become programmers — and most won’t — is for them to be able understand how information can be gathered and presented using code and how to use it for journalism.” Equipping mass communication students with technical skills such as writing code, using virtual intelligence, etc will provide them with tools which will help them to get a job. The need for these kinds of tech savvy jobs will only increase as we shift more and more to digital media, so it is important to prepare the future generations. Digital is not going away any time soon, so the quicker journalism schools are to adopt these concepts and implement them into programs, the better off the journalism industry will be.