Posted by: Ian Ross | February 4, 2008

Reporters Being Prepared For Inkless, Multimedia World

A world without newsprint appears to be a real possibility. And the Toronto Star appears to be preparing its reporters for the new multimedia frontier.

The paper’s public editor Kathy English wrote an interesting column on the weekend. In it, she discusses the Star’s new training initiative – called StarNext – that is educating reporters about the future of journalism. A future that will require them to capture audio, shoot video, and edit — in addition to their regular duties — for the publication’s website. I suspect many other papers are making a similar move.

English references the Newspaper Association of America’s recent report that found 60 million people visited an online newspaper in 2006 – a 6.3 per cent increase over 2005. “Within the Star‘s newsroom there is a growing recognition that multimedia journalism offers creative new ways to tell stories and serve this greater goal,” she said.

I agree that newspapers must shift online to survive. I think that’s pretty obvious to most of us at this point.

However, this is also going to mean lots of reporters multi-tasking under tight deadlines. Not an easy task – especially if you have been focused on just writing or photography for most of your career.

This should create some good opportunities for media relations specialists if they are prepared to adapt as well. No longer is a quick media release going to cut it for newspaper coverage. A successful PR campaign will require (even more than now) solid visual stories backed up with available video clips, audio MP3 files, social media and digital photos.

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