Young journalists need multimedia journalism skills if they want an edge in today’s job market.

That’s what the new day editor of The Globe and Mail, Jim Sheppard, told students and faculty at Carleton University’s School of Journalism on a recent visit. Sheppard says when The Globe has jobs to fill, it wants to find the best journalists out there. But, he said, if candidates have multimedia journalism skills, they will have an edge over candidates who don’t. He compared it to being bilingual. It will never be the primary reason someone gets a job, he said, but it will give journalists an advantage over those without such skills.

Jim Sheppard’s advice to journalism students:

As for the skills students might want to develop, he listed ones that some Globe journalists now use:

  • Taking and editing photographs using Photoshop
  • Recording and editing audio using Audition
  • Producing narrated slideshows using Soundslides
  • And, possibly, shooting and editing video using Final Cut Pro

Students asked him whether the paper’s long-time reporters and editors were excited about the move to multimedia journalism at the paper. His answer was essentially – no, not all of them. At any newspaper in North America, he said, there are people who want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend change is not happening. Others welcome it. He estimates at the Globe, about 10 per cent of the staff are resisting change, another 30 per cent are excited about it and the rest are taking a wait and see approach. At this point, he said, reporters are told that working on stories for the web is voluntary. But, at the same time, he said the message is clear that co-operation is essential to the new integrated approach to the web and print operations at the paper.

He described it as a more light-handed approach than the one taken at the washingtonpost.com where he worked before joining the Globe three years ago.

Sheppard compares the approaches at The Globe and Mail and the Washington Post:

Sheppard’s advice to students confirms the advice other online journalists and journalism educators have been offering online and in classrooms recently.