A Look at the Future

Poynter has a great video by Brian Storm of MediaStorm about his take on the future of journalism. You might remember us watching the Media Storm video on National Geographic about elephant poaching (Ivory Wars) and Annie, the elephant that they tracked on the graphic. Brian does amazing work, well respected. But, I’m not sure I agree with everything he is saying.  While I agree that collaboration will be necessary to tell extensive stories, the current state of technology makes it pretty simple for journalists to be able to tell stories with a variety of tools.  If a story comes up, and you think it would be greatly enhanced with video, you should be able to handle that.  If it needs an interactive graph, you should at least be fluent enough to understand the potential of the technology, whether you make it in Flash yourself, or if you communicate that to a designer.  And, you need to understand the power of data-driven stories.  Users are enjoying and getting used to interacting with stories.  I do agree that experimentation at this point is very important. He talks about trying out widgets, using Facebook and other social networks, Apple TV, etc.

And, I got a fantastic job description from Aron Pilhofer at the NY Times.  It’s for an Interface Engineer, but don’t let that title scare you. Here are the requirements:

Qualifications:
* Advanced Javascript abilities and AJAX experience.
* Expert-level CSS and HTML.
* Thorough understanding of cross-browser, front-end development issues
* Deep understanding of the principles of the concepts of web accessibility and user centered design/development
* Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
* CS degree or equivalent experience
* Ruby on Rails experience a plus

I honestly think this is a reasonable direction for a communication majors.  So, other than that CS degree qualification, these are the areas in which journalism majors should be comfortable. When I replied to Aron’s email and said I would spread the word, here’s what I got back:

“Hey Cindy,

I’d appreciate it if you did. We can go a lot of different directions with this position. We’d consider someone rather junior if that person displayed solid skills and enormous potential. So, please do, spread the word…

Thanks much, and talk to you soon!
aron”

Really gives you the idea that they are open to a variety of types of people, and it seems that the journalism/storytelling aspect is of the utmost importance.

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