Goodbye print design…hello online media design!

Out with the old and in with the new! The traditional ways that mass communication have been taught in higher education may not be a viable way of teaching anymore. The need for new positions such as product management will only become more important over the next few years. As the realm of journalism expands to a more online presence, the importance of product management while pursuing these new online ventures will be critical for journalism companies to succeed. As Cindy Royal states, “the audience-centric nature of these technology products makes them as much “journalism” as traditional stories. And those who work on teams developing these products are often making editorial judgments and decisions.” Unfortunately, journalism schools have yet to implement classes that teach students the concepts and skills that go along with product management. In a series of thought-provoking articles about the future of journalism schools, Steve Buttry is quoted as saying that journalism schools have a choice to either “slide into irrelevancy even faster than professional media that fail to adapt, or race into the digital future and help show them (students) the way.” Therefore, it is critical for journalism schools to equip their students with classes that teach coding, management skills, and business knowledge to prepare their students to fill this gap in the journalism field.

In the interviews of different product managers, the majority of the interviewees stated that basic knowledge of coding is beneficial, but not required for product managers. They also seemed to agree that the position entails a more diverse knowledge of business, technological, and customer identification skills. I believe the insights given by those interviewed, on both the webinar and by the individuals in News Nerd Career, is important because it sheds light on how the journalism field has evolved and diversified over the last couple of years. Additionally, it points to the growing need for programming competent individuals and their importance to the future of journalism.

Product management and programming will be of importance to my future career as I plan to begin my career in social media marketing/digital marketing. In Managing Digital Products in a Newsroom Context, respondents defined digital media product as “websites, publishing platforms, content management systems and native mobile applications.” As a social media/digital marketer the content that is published on these different products is your main job. Therefore, many digital marketing positions require a basic understanding of HTML, CSS and web design. The importance of online presence these days is crucial to a business’s success, so having the skills to code will only prove beneficial to the individuals that know how.

A problems that was brought to attention in Royal’s Managing Digital Products in a Newsroom Content when integrating these concepts is the issue of”church and state.” One respondent begged the question, “How do you get to the point where product management is about content?…Product managers are generally viewed as commercial side and not editorial, and that’s changing.” The way that product management has been viewed in the past a more commercial or business related position, but as journalism shifts more online this position will play a vital role in making that shift. This means that the way the position is viewed will also need to change and be modified to fit into the needs of newsrooms.