PA training head: journalists must be more entrepreneurial

Press Association’s head of training, Tony Johnston, said today that journalists needed to become more entrepreneurial and numerate to take full advantage of digital developments in the industry.

Traditional reporting skills needed to be augmented with a greater level of technical training, Johnston said, to better equip journalist for the development of new forms of story telling involving sets of data.

‘Increasingly we are going to have to teach journalists to be more entrepreneurial in their outlook, thought processes, and the way they treat content,’he told the Westminster Media Forum, in London today.

‘Certainly they are going to have to become much more numerate than they are today if we are ever going to be able to maximise the amount of freely available data content,’he said.

‘Not only will we have to get the skills to find that data, we are going to have to be able to interrogate it, visualise it and mash it too.”

Despite the growth of non-professional local blogs and news services, Johnston said audiences still need ‘voices of authority’to deliver trusted, reliable news.

However, that could be provided by a mixed ecology of recognised, traditional news brands and individual professional journalists, he said, but advances in technical skills would be needed to enable new forms of journalism.

‘The journalists of tomorrow will have to have skills to build extensive social networks by themselves that will effectively become their eyes and ears,’he added.

‘The networks will hold the information that the journalists will then be able to fact check, analyse and interpret to add value to the end product.”

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