Similar roles / Also known as: Multimedia Journalist
Career Level: Mid-level
What Do They Do?
Digital Journalists are specialist journalists who are specifically tasked with creating enhanced news content for online and social media. Day-to-day they will be researching, verifying and writing stories, and then sourcing audio and video to illustrate them.
This could involve going to the scene of a murder or other breaking news incident like a fire, or it could be as simple as giving people a voice to fight for something they believe in. The journalist will then conduct interviews for use on air - but will also create video for social media and will write articles for the website. Nowadays, people hear about breaking news either on social media or on the radio – rather than through the TV or a newspaper – so that’s why this is crucial as these journalists are often the first to break a story.
In journalism, no two days are the same, but a Digital Journalist’s daily tasks might involve:
- Generating story ideas and researching them – online, on the phone, in print or in person
- Liaising with other news team members about stories several times a day
- Following up leads
- Visiting the scene of breaking news
- Preparing and conducting interviews
- Writing articles for use online
- Editing audio and video for use on air and online
- Writing supporting social media content
Who Do They Work With?
- Digital Journalists will probably work as part of a Newsroom team – which may include other Broadcast Journalists, along with producers, and reporters who find and write the stories which make it to air.
- A Digital Journalist is likely to report in to an Editor who will set the daily news agenda and decide what stories to run with.
- In bigger networks, like the BBC or Times Radio, there may be a wider News team which may include TV, print and online output.
What Skills Do I Need?
- Digital Journalists are intensely curious, with a strong desire to know the truth. They are determined to get to the heart of a story.
- Digital Journalists absorb information quickly and understand how to turn that information into something people can connect with.
- Digital Journalists are fascinated by people and determined to their stories with empathy and sensitivity.
- Digital Journalists need strong interpersonal skills, as they need to get information quickly and efficiently, without ruffling feathers.
- Broadcast Journalists need to be confident communicators with strong writing skills, as they write their own copy.
- Broadcast Journalists need to be technically confident with editing audio and video.
How Do I Get This Job?
Digital Journalists will often have a degree in Journalism, and may likely have a degree in another subject or a postgraduate degree. It is essential that they have a solid understanding of libel, election law and court reporting laws (you can end up facing a big fine or even a jail term if you get that wrong). Some public affairs knowledge is useful – how laws are made, how local and national government work. Work experience can be a great route into this role, and being in the right place at the right time for breaking news is invaluable.