Role of online journalist needs to be defined

There is way too much gray area when it comes to being a reporter or journalist these days.

With the Web’s quick dominance of the industry media outlets have hurried to pile on more and more tasks on their reporters. This is not a bad thing. The issue though, is that the lines have not been drawn as to requirements, responsibilities and new job descriptions.

A challenge I face every day working as online editor at the Times-News is getting people to write for the Web, post their stories online, shoot and edit video and a whole lot more. It is a constant struggle to get certain people to do the things that are now required of them. Do you know why it’s a struggle? Because there is no consequences for not doing it.

Media outlets need to hold their staff to the highest standards and to do that they must set requirements and consequences. For example, if you require every reporter to shoot and produce at least two videos a month then you have a standard. You also tell them that they have to post their own stories as well as other interesting stories they come across to the Web site.

If they do not do any of these things they will be disciplined. I’m not sure what the punishment would be, but something like working another weekend in addition to the one required. That might help someone put forth more effort.

The way I see it is that if you’re a reporter, editor, copy desk clerk, anything in the media industry, you are lucky to have a job. Even if the pay is horrible, you have more than others. And, to increase your pay, you need to take action and do something constructive. Meaning, all you have to do is take more initiative. Volunteer for Web projects, become familiar with the technology and equipment.

If I had it my way, you either fulfill your news description or you find someone else to take the job.

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