By: Hailey Fernelius
Multimedia journalism is driven by the possibilities of a digital era. MMJ can use video, audio, photos, graphics, and social media, but is defined by its reporting, writing, and ethics. Jennifer Napier-Pearce creates MMJ every week in her online TRIB Talk.
In a recently viewed TRIB Talk, Pearce was discussing the new LDS policy on gay couples and the church. The talk included video of her and four other participants that she was interviewing with audio. In all of her talks she checks her twitter and webpage for any comments or questions, and takes phones calls.
According to the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute, “To stay ahead of the curve in this evolving media environment you must know how to produce content and create compelling stories for a mobile first audience.”
MMJ was created to be interactive and fast. “It is a quick process these days, reporters can have a story out within minutes of an event happening,” said Pearce.
Some may wonder if this high speed form of journalism is prone to errors. Information that is published without being checked can be risky business. But this is not a major issue. “Errors happen, but it can be fixed very quickly,” said Pearce.
Sheena McFarland, once a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune, said that MMJ stories are not written and completed all at once. When a reporter is at an event, they write a couple of lines about what is going on and then follow it with, “we will continue to update the story throughout the day.” McFarland holds a record for the most stories written in a 24 hour period.
According to the BBC Academy, “Multimedia Journalism can be one multi-skilled reporter telling a story for TV, radio and online or it can mean running a newsroom where journalists working in different media collaborate.”
Pearce and McFarland stress the importance of being multi-skilled. Throughout her life Pearce has had many jobs. She was an English Major at the University of Utah, she interned at the LA Times, and has worked for multiple magazines. But none of these allowed her to pursue her interest in radio.
This interest prompted her to volunteer for a local radio station, where she started building her knowledge of microphones and other radio equipment. From there she went on to co-host a talk show, worked for Utah.com podcast, and eventually made her way to the Salt Lake Tribune.
“It is not enough just to be a journalist anymore,” said McFarland. In order to be desired by companies these days you must have a wide range of skills that go beyond being a good writer.
This means that someone interested in journalism should intern at places that will give the skill set to operate radio equipment, produce videos, create websites, and how to properly use social media to get your message across.
Another thing to keep in mind is how much research needs to be done in order to accurately report on a topic. You need to have sources from both sides of the story, and a lot of the time you need them quickly.
Pearce explained that she had a story that she was reporting on that day that she still needed to research how to reach her target audience. So, she has to research a topic, find credible sources to discuss on it, and figure out how to reach her target audience. “Building a brand takes time, effort, and resources,” said Pearce.
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