9 Top Tips for the Journalists of Tomorrow

**Article obtained from The Guardian, a great resource for a wealth of information. Please visit their site. ** ~ Meyer Lane

Hannah Waldram, community coordinator, news, the Guardian

Drop the hangups around engaging with readers in comments: We don’t need to continually get hung up about things like members of the general public contributing to the storytelling process (or the loathed term ‘citizen journalism’) – the sooner young journalists can dismiss any snobbery to do with engaging readers, the closer they will be to looking like a journalist of the future.

Learn to report in the field and on the fly: I was recently covering the English Defence League protest in the city centre – I was live tweeting, using Audioboo to get short clip interviews with the police, using Bambuser to live stream some video when the protesters broke the police line, while also taking still video on a Kodak HD camera which I knew I could edit and upload later using iMovie and Youtube.

I took pictures on my phone and sent them out on Twitter using twitpic and I was also taking notes using shorthand in a notebook so that I had some extra quotes to write up in a more considered report later – I carried my laptop in a rucksack on my back and cycled to the nearest place with Wi-Fi to upload anything I couldn’t do live. There I’d also write up a couple of pieces while responding to comments, looking for reaction tweets, videos, confirming numbers with the police and so on.

I soon learned to carry everything I needed on my back, and made sure I had pockets (like gadget girl!) to keep all my phones and cameras in. I also learned to make sure everything was fully charged before leaving the house and I knew where the nearest Wi-Fi was – this type of training you can only learn on the job.

Always have a pen!

Nick Petrie, social media and campaigns editor, the Times

Community journalism will be very important: Considering the rate at which publications are hiring people to help develop and serve their communities, it is going to become increasingly more important. Look at Liz Heron’s recent move to the Wall Street Journal with Neil Mann, that the New York Times is looking for three social media producers and that the Guardian has a whole suit of community coordinators.

In an age where readers are not loyal to one paper in the way they used to be, developing and maintaining a relationship with readers (engaging them) is key to them coming back – the community aspects of journalism are not a hobby or a passing fad.

Battery backup is your friend: My major fears when it comes to tools are a lack of serious advances in battery tech; every good mobile journalism tool kit includes various charging cables and backup batteries. I need an iPhone that can do seven days heavy use – at the moment it dies by midday if I have a busy morning.

Call yourself a journalist: Not a student journalist, and then act like it – don’t wait for permission to get started, just start writing, blogging, interviewing, taking photos and so on.

Experiment: So many projects you can try are cost-free and low risk. People think journalism is only now experiencing change, but it always has been, it’s just faster and talked about more now. Just go and get started – don’t look for an excuse not to do something but for a reason to try.

Sarah Marshall, technology correspondent, Journalism.co.uk

Do more than the lectures: My take is that formal training in law, shorthand, video and audio is valuable. But students who simply attend lectures will not be the ones who get the good jobs at the end; they will be the ones who fill their time blogging, making connections and going out with a camera or smartphone etc.

Joseph Stashko, journalist, freelance

Be open to openness: I think that openness has, and will, continue to be a much bigger part of journalism than in the past. Obviously the Guardian is taking the open journalism approach to an organisation-wide level, but you also see it in things like journalists disclosing their interests or investments when writing.

One place that does this really well is All Things D, the tech website owned by the Wall Street Journal. Each writer has an ethics statement under their byline, which outlines (in painstaking detail) interests that may be seen to prejudice a journalist’s writing if left unsaid. You can see what I’m talking about here, and I think this kind of thing is only going to become more prevalent.

Martin Belam, lead user experience and information architect, the Guardian

Learn to code: I think it’s good for journalists to get a basic understanding of the principles of how programming works; it can really help you use computers and technology tools to cut out some of the mundane bits of production.

I think it’s often hard for people to know whether they should be learning language X or language Y and whether they need to be able to build whole websites or applications. I think, as a bare minimum, any journalist entering the profession now should have a good understanding of marking up documents in HTML so they can add links, make lists and put things into bold and italics by hand.

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The Rhythm of Writing: Pete Hamill

Pete Hamill

Pete Hamill

“I do think about the rhythm, often before beginning a passage. Is it blues? Chamber music? Bebop? Or mambo? I don’t do this mechanically, but I want to hear some of the words before I put them down. I always try to write sentences that end in hard words, so that I don’t even need a period. This is obviously a lesson from poetry. For instance, ‘I hit him with a rock’ is better than ‘I threw a rock at him.’”

From Wikpedia:

Pete Hamill (born June 24, 1935) is an American journalist, novelist, essayist, editor and educator. Widely traveled and having written on a broad range of topics, he is perhaps best known for his career as a New York City journalist, as “the author of columns that sought to capture the particular flavors of New York City’s politics and sports and the particular pathos of its crime.”Hamill was a columnist and editor for the New York Post and The New York Daily News.

Digital Dissedents: An evening with David Wolman

No one predicted Egypt’s revolution. But two and half years before there was anything called the “Arab Spring,” David Wolman went to Cairo to write a feature story for Wired about tech-savvy dissidents protesting against the regime.

Those same Egyptian activists, led by a soft-spoken civil engineer named Ahmed Maher, went on to play a central role in organizing the revolution that began on January 25, 2011. Wolman kept close tabs on the group, filing a handful of stories during those tense 18 days. Then, on February 10, hours before the world learned that Mubarak had finally been forced out, Wolman received a text message from Maher: “Mubarak will go now. LOL.” Realizing that he had a unique perspective and access, he returned to Egypt last March to research and write “The Instigators”: a definitive account of the revolution and the lead-up to it, and of the people who planned and orchestrated what may prove to be one of the most important uprisings of the 21st century.

“The Instigators,” is “riveting,” says The Atlantic–a dramatic behind-the-scenes tale that sheds new light on the Arab Spring, including the secret collaboration between Maher and Google executive Wael Ghonim–five months before the revolution.

Soon after the revolution, David was featured in this FRONTLINE special, “Revolution in Egypt.” He has also recently returned from another trip to Cairo in October, where he reconnected with Maher, who was nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, and is now advising activists organizing Occupy Wall Street protests

Wolman’s new book, out this February, is called The End of Money and it fleshes out the larger story of a social innovation tool used by Mercy Corps and other INGOs — mobile banking. Going without cash for a year, Wolman studies visionaries, advocates and methods, including mobile banking in third world countries.

David Wolman is an author and award-winning journalist. He is a contributing editor for Wired, and he has written for a variety of publications, including Outside, Mother Jones, Newsweek,Discover, Forbes, and Salon. A former Fulbright journalism fellow in Japan and a graduate of Stanford University’s journalism program, he now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is a recipient of the 2011 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. David has also published two works of nonfiction, A Left-Hand Turn Around the World, (Da Capo Press, 2005), and Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email (HarperCollins, 2008).

 From Wikipedia:

David Wolman is an American author and journalist. He is a contributing editor at Wired, and has also written for publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Discover, National Geographic Traveler, New Scientist and Outside.

Fulbright Journalism Fellow, Sapporo, Japan, 2003

Oregon Arts Commission, Individual Artist Fellowship, 2011

Society of Environmental Journalists, third place, Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Small Market, 2011

National Magazine Awards, finalist, Digital Media Reporting, 2012