Not your father’s newsroom

“We’re in the most exciting, amazing time in the history of journalism,” says Chet Rhodes, Deputy Multimedia Editor/Breaking News at washingtonpost.com. Rhodes spoke October 8 before a crowd of students and faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University. He says in the future, newspapers or newscasts will be just one of several types of content produced by a news organization. They’ll also be putting out information via cell phones, Web sites and devices that haven’t yet been imagined.

“The days of having just one skill is done. We really want people with multiple skills,” says Rhodes. However, Rhodes also says writing “is the fundamental thing on the Web and in all journalism.” For those still in school, Rhodes suggests they take the toughest print class available. “It will give you a lot of discipline about your writing.”

He also suggested journalists who want to work in multimedia should learn the “lingo of the Web.” Rhodes says you should know what terms like PHP and Java mean. And he says it certainly won’t hurt you to learn a little Flash and other Web technical skills.

Rhodes also says we should look for video to take off on washingtonpost.com. “Right now our biggest competitor in D.C. is CNN.com – they’re all about the video.” He went on to say the Post has now trained 140 print reporters in the use of small video cameras and that will continue. They’ll also be looking to increase the number of documentary shooters they have on staff as well.

Sounds like some job opportunities to me.

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