The need for mobile skills among broadcast journalists has gone through the roof. In research from 2010, just 2% of TV job postings mentioned mobile — by the end of 2012, mobile skills were referenced in about 27% of job ads. For those who aren’t good at math, that’s about a 1200% increase in two years.
So, what do news directors want new hires to know about mobile? Chris Gegg leads the shop at WISN in Milwaukee, Wisc. He says first, they have to understand the way mobile has changed the viewers’ expectations.
“Users expect information/news the moment it happens. If you don’t have the information users want and need on your mobile site, they’ll go to your competition. Your mobile site has just seconds to impress. If not, users won’t be back,” Gegg said.
At WISN and other stations around the country, mobile sites are now getting more page views than station websites.
“When news breaks our mobile numbers skyrocket. That is also the case when severe weather strikes; our mobile numbers just spike,” said Gegg. “That is why it is so important your mobile site is always updated.”
For Gegg, that means hiring job applicants who know how to use mobile devices to get information out quickly.
“All day long you are gathering information — posting to social media and your station’s mobile site. You’ve tweeted photos and facts. You’ve posted video using Vine. You’ve asked for viewer feedback on Facebook. You’ve updated your story on the station’s mobile site — all while using your iPhone or Android device.”
Gegg says that mobile products force you to post information as soon as you digest it and understand it. He also has a recommendation for any journalists who are still in school.
“Take a course in still photography. With journalists tweeting photos and posting to station sites – a course on still photography is beneficial.”