The 6 types of new journalists


Northwestern University’s Media Management Center recently produced a thorough report called, “Life beyond print: Newspaper journalists’ digital appetite”—a survey of almost 3,800 people in a cross-section of newspaper newsrooms shows. The report identified six types of journalists:

1. Digitals – about 12% of journalists, the youngest cadre and one that spends most of its time online.

2. Major shift – about 11% of journalists, individuals who typically have 15 years of experience. They spent time online but not in the newsroom. They think newsrooms need to get on it and make a more ambitious shift. They could devote as much as five times more effort to contributing to a digital migration—if they could only have an indication of a worthwhile investment.

3. Moderately more – at 50%, it’s the biggest slice of the newsroom and one that desires to split its efforts equally between online and print. They usually have about two decades of newsroom experience and generally think publications are going in the right direction.

4. Status quo – about 14% spend about 30% of their efforts online. This is just dandy to them. Things have been pretty good.

5.Turn back the clock – 6%. The Web sucks! This set of journalists just wishes this Internet journalism was a big, bad dream.

6. Leaders – about 5%. These seasoned journalists are the movers and shakers (or at least publishers and managing editors) in the industry. They typically devote most of their energy to print products but want to shift efforts online.

Overall, the report cites a disconnect between newsroom leaders and their staff. It also points to a need for better tools and more engaged leadership for digital transition.

In my mind, one of many new challenges for newsrooms and journalism schools is juggling a reorganized hierarchy of talent. While newsroom veterans provide invaluable editorial instinct and experience, young upstarts tend to bring the digital skills and fresh ideas. How can we soundly lead newrooms in ambitious new ventures with diverse leadership and colleagues?

If you’re a journalist, where do you fit in?



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