Top Multimedia Journalism Skills Every Reporter Needs

October 20, 2022

Journalists pursue the truth and provide context to the information they are reporting.  In other words, they specialize in breaking down what information means and why it matters. However, in an always-evolving world of journalism, there is a never-ending flow of content and news. Stories must stand out and be exceptional, and every journalist must master skills in multimedia journalism, content, and more in order to compete.   

As the Chair of the Broadcast Journalism School, I believe multimedia journalists are the wave of the future. That’s why we at the New York Film Academy focus specifically on preparing the next generation of multimedia journalists to have the skills they’ll need to compete in an expanding and changing media landscape.

6 Multimedia Journalism Skills Every Aspiring Reporter Needs

Look around you, and you’ll see content creators are everywhere.  Just check out TikTok or Instagram.  It seems everyone is making something. That’s why it is vital for the next generation of journalism creators must go beyond just broadcast journalism and also learn how to produce and promote great content.

Here are essential skills we believe that every multimedia journalist should develop: 

1. Ability to Verify Information

Creating journalistically sound content is all about adding context to valuable information. However, it’s extremely important that journalists verify their information as well. Never assume information is correct just because someone of authority said it. There are several ways to verify the information for reporting, including:

  • Ask questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how
  • Find the original source
  • Look for additional sources that support the information
  • Check public records

Once information is verified, multimedia journalists can shape their stories, giving audiences absorbing their content a better understanding of it.

2. Writing to Video

Life is now on video. Everyone with a phone can shoot videos and post them. But, to really be able to post valuable, journalistically sound information, knowing how to write to video is one of the most important skills a multimedia journalist must know. Whether writing for broadcast journalism or multimedia journalism, it requires a clear understanding of what the story is about, how to identify the lead, find the characters to help propel the story forward, supply supporting information, and ensure the video is there to help tell the story.

3. Visual Storytelling 

The importance of compelling visuals cannot be overstated in multimedia journalism. To help effectively tell stories, journalists must learn the techniques to properly tell visual stories. For example, cameras should follow the action, not provide the action. Visual storytelling in multimedia journalism includes learning how to shoot in sequences (wide/medium/tight), gather exceptional audio, and capture the elements in every scene. As news today can happen quickly, journalists should also learn techniques to use their cell phones for mobile journalism, giving them the ability to shoot and capture high-quality videos.

4. Non-linear Editing

Good editing skills can make or break a story, and it is essential for multimedia journalists to master at least one non-linear editing platform. At NYFA, we teach Avid, Adobe Premiere, and Davinci to teach students vital organization, story construction, pacing, and voice-over skills, as they’re all important to tell an exceptional story.

5. On-Air Performance

From setting up and shooting standups to doing their own live reports, multimedia journalists generally do everything on their own. This means that aspiring multimedia journalists must learn how to write, shoot, and edit their own stories, as well as perform on air. On-air performance requires confidence and charisma, which can come naturally for some individuals and, for others, may require more practice and training.

6. Social Media 

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey of reporters and editors, nine-in-ten journalists in the United States (94%) use social media for their profession. Combing social media can help reporters identify a specific area where a spot news story is happening or reveal details for a developing story. Social media platforms can also be an effective way for multimedia journalists to post their stories and gain a following. 

Developing Essential Journalism Skills

The bottom line is multimedia journalists must be well-versed in a variety of media and have the ability to adjust to the changing landscape in an expanding global media environment. To prepare aspiring journalists for the competitive nature of this field, New York Film Academy is offering a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Entertainment Media with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. The concentration aims to provide students with a foundation in multimedia journalism skills in this digital age. 

Throughout the program, students learn to research, produce, shoot, write, report, narrate, and edit news projects for broadcast and the internet, applying what they have learned to NYFA News, our own biweekly news magazine. Students also learn the process of show production and gain studio experience as they rotate positions that include anchor, reporter, writer, producer, and director. Learn more about our BFA in Entertainment Media today!