Monday, November 16, 2009...3:03 pm

Reed's Karl Schneider: "Most journalism will be amateur"

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Part 1;    Part 2;    Part 3;    Part 4;    Part 5;
Key elements of future journalism, according to Karl Schneider, editorial director of Reed Business Information:

  • user-generated content – which will come to dominate
  • interaction via Twitter, forums and blogs
  • transparency and process journalism
  • multimedia content – eg video and interactive graphics

This comes from this morning’s fascinating – and challenging – presentation to journalism students at UCA in Farnham.
I’m putting together a fuller summary – complete with grainy, shaky, poorly lit video! – for a post tomorrow. But one thing leaped out at me that’s worth stressing to journalism students.
If you want to work in tomorrow’s media, start being part of the media NOW.
It seems Reed is thinking about using participation in online media as a first-stage filter for job applicants.
So when you go for a job or placement interview at Reed, you may well be faced with questions such as “tell us about your blog”, and “tell us about your traffic”. No easy answer? Then the response may well be “thanks, but no thanks.”
I’ve said it myself, (though Karl Schneider said it better in his talk) – if you want to stand out in the media job market start a blog early and keep updating regularly.
It was one thing wanting to be a journalist in the olden days (ie about 15 years ago), with no real access to publishing if you weren’t actually working for a publisher. But publishing on the web is pretty much free these days, so there’s no excuse not to do it.
He likened it to approaching a record company for a record deal without being able to play an instrument. Saying “I was waiting to sign my contract before learning to play the guitar” is unthinkable. The same goes for journalism now.
Part 1;    Part 2;    Part 3;    Part 4;    Part 5;


  • Karl gave a similar talk to the second years at LCC a couple of weeks ago. I don’t necessarily agree with the way he sees everything – I’m not sure ugc will be as dominant as he suggests for example – but I really like Karl’s open approach. The best bit of advice he gave the LCC students was “play” – emphasising the fact that we are all still finding our way and that the time was ripe to try stuff out. I also think the sessions he has driven at RBI in which various members of staff come together to discuss new ways of working are something the rest of the industry should do. I’ve written a more in-depth feature on those for a forthcoming issue of InPublishing.

  • Please send me the link when it’s published.
    I imagine it was pretty much the same talk you had (why waste a good PowerPoint presentation?). But well worth hearing.
    Personally I’m on much the same page as Karl. For a while I’ve thought user-generated content will keep growing – partly because people like to do it, and partly because it will fill a vacuum.
    But then, these cycles turn – so maybe the fad will fade…

  • Here in the actual industry, the importance of user-engagement is growing all the time. Two main reasons:
    The noble: It allows readers to interact with us and the brands
    The ignoble: It’s cheaper than filling space ourselves
    I can never agree that ‘good’ or ‘real’ journalism will eventually triumph, come what may. Journalists have far too high an opinion of themselves and their trade. Most folks out there don’t share it.
    If we want to survive, we’ve got to offer something better, and – crucially – something different.

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