Reporters ought to be learning Web skills for self-preservation and for the betterment of the community.
But if that’s not enough, how about getting better story assignments?
That was my experience during the Pennsylvania primaries, when I was often dispatched to some of the bigger events in the state. And believe me, I’m no ace reporter at the paper.
It wasn’t because of my storytelling skills (we have a fairly large staff, and there are many reporters much more experienced than I). It wasn’t because of seniority (I’m the youngest in the newsroom, and with only two years at the paper one of the most recent hires).
It was because I was liveblogging the events, and I had established myself as one of only a handful of staff members willing or able to do that. Otherwise, it’s unlikely I would have touched election night at Hillary Clinton’s headquarters in Philadelphia, or a big Barack Obama rally in State College, or a Bill Clinton rally in Carlisle early in the campaign. I also wrote a print edition story for event the following day.
Over in Indiana, a similar thing is apparently happening to Meranda Watling since the candidates invaded her state.
This should be music to the ears of student journalists, who need to find some way to market themselves above their more experienced competitors for jobs out of college.
If you’re applying for a job, ask who at the paper would be the one to liveblog a big event in their backyard. Then produce evidence that you can do it better.