Blogging, podcasting, social media, photography, desktop publishing, print, radio and online news and feature reporting and writing, videography, WordPress, data sorting, HTML and CSS coding: What do these seemingly very diﬀerent skills have in common?
They’re all taught in the two-year Algonquin College Journalism program. And they’re a reflection of how journalism has become a flexible process in the era of the 24/7 news cycle.
From the Vice Canadas to the Gawkers to the Yahoos to the Mashables to the Buzzfeeds to free print newspapers, and all of the tablet- based and other digital projects the legacy media is working hard to unveil, a new era has dawned in the information age; an age that still requires energetic people to make it all happen.
And yet, journalism has a public relations problem today, with news of some high- profile layoﬀs at Postmedia and Ottawa area radio and TV stations.
What we don’t hear about are all of the other news outlets that are still thriving, the new ones starting up, and all of the jobs being created that need the skills detailed above. We’re seeing website content creators and managers being hired that require employees to be technologically adept, comfortable with social media and flexible storytellers who can take photos or video.
At the same time, I see excellent journalism being practiced today at all levels in Canada, with more precision and transparency than when I first began in 1978. The tools we use are better and allows for more eﬃcient information gathering in less time.
Algonquin Journalism teaches all of that from day one. By the winter semester of the first year, students are producing the Algonquin Times, and delivering their stories in both print and online. By the second year – the final year of the program – they’re publishing a print and digital magazine, creating websites, sorting data and continuing to learn all of the traditional skills that legacy media still need.
There will be more to come and any digital publisher that wants to oﬀer original news and feature content, will need people with the skills journalists possess, the skills Algonquin Journalism teaches.
Written by Joe Banks,
Journalism Program Coordinator/Professor