Keeping in Mind What’s Important for the Field of Journalism

pyramid of competence.jpgAnyone interested in the field of journalism as a potential career should be aware that being a good journalist does not just involve being able to write well. Although proficiency in writing is definitely necessary for the field of journalism, other skills and knowledge must also be kept in mind.

The Pyramid of Competence that we looked at in class provides categories that are important to the field of journalism such as storytelling, evidence, critical thinking, and even numeracy. The pyramid indicates that, in journalism, civics and culture are intimately related as are audio-visual skills, technology, and numeracy.

Audio-visual skills are extremely important to journalism as a good story is usually accompanied by photo(s) and, in the case of online journalism, videos. Links are also an important component of online stories and blogs as they direct the reader to additional sources pertaining to pertinent information. Blogging is a component of technology and an understanding of technology is integral for properly implementing audio clips, pictures, and videos. Numeracy (which includes being able to interpret statistical data) often requires technology.

Critical thinking, a component of the pyramid, refers to “higher-level thinking.” It involves assessing what can and cannot be published as well as the analysis and interpretation of what certain information might mean for a community beyond what is written. Journalism also involves identifying conflicts of interest and taking them into account.

A component of journalism that is not contained within the pyramid is interviewing. I believe that good interviewing skills are necessary for first-hand reporting, especially for obtaining good quotes.

The article titled “10 Basics Today’s Journalists Need” contains several similarities to the Pyramid of Competence as well as few distinctions.

Both articles point out that although the field of journalism does not involves a heavy amount of math, basic mathematical skills as well as interpretation of statistical data is required. Journalists must understand data that they are presenting in order to write about it and make it relevant to the reader. Business related news, stories about the economy, and sports stories which include statistics such as ERA would especially involve numeracy.

While the Pyramid of Competence notes that technology is necessary for journalists in today’s age, the second article particularly highlights the importance of understanding basic coding. This includes basic html, which we have been learning in class.

Both the Pyramid of Competence and the other article point out the importance of understanding one’s audience. The author of the second article says that audiences will not be the same across different platforms and therefore having an understanding of which readers are where is important.

The second article also notes that the blurb of a story should contain a maximum of 140 characters as it is the factor that immediately draws the reader into a story. Online must contain key words so that readers can access them when they search for information.

Overall, both the Pyramid of Competence and the other article contain important information which is relevant to modern journalists. Much of this information goes beyond good writing skills and instead highlights the other aspects of journalism such as critical thinking, numeracy, audio-visual skills, building a brand, and engaging on social media.


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