10 basics today’s journalists need
Knight Foundation

These tips are all for producing and publishing stories, not finding and reporting them, which is infinitely more difficult and frankly the more valuable skill set. Missing from this list are the basic journalism skills vital to the role journalism plays in a democracy: a nose for news, the ability to stand up to and call bullshit on elected officials, knowing what’s important and and what’s not. (Hint: people talking about a subject on Twitter does NOT necessarily make it important.) I’ve taught several classes at prestigious journalism schools, and I’ve seen first-hand that it is not a given that young journalists have an innate sense of what an important story is or how to go about about reporting it. And that’s frightening because as the older generation of journalists retires or is pushed out, these skills are simply not being passed on. At the same time, government agencies, corporations and politicians are becoming better and better at pushing the stories they do want to covered, meaning the coming decades will see journalism and its vital role in American democracy relegated ever more completely to entertainment and click-bait (or whatever the VR equivalent will be.)

Of course, the journalism industry has always had its share of fluff, hacks and happy news, but good and important journalism was still committed with the full support of editors and, occasionally, publishers with a strong sense of public responsibility. I see nothing about that sense of serving the public good addressed in the above list. I feel that good, important and impactful journalism will, in the future, be committed in spite of the business, rather than because of it.