How important is it for journalists to learn code?

I recently read an article in The Atlantic written by one of its associate editors that seemed to argue against the need for journalism students to learn coding.

After reading this article, I am not quite sure how important coding is for future journalists. Being in this class made me think it is essential, but this article made the impression that you should learn it all or don't learn it at all. Knowing a little bit of code isn't worth much to this editor. One of the points she made was that there are already skilled coders out there who have a computer science background. These people, she said, are going to be the ones acquiring the web design and data visualization jobs required in newsrooms.

Although, she mostly negates the idea that journalists must know code, I think this article made me more inclined to continue educating myself in coding. She makes some valid points when she said traditional writing and reporting jobs may not require much code. However, there are a variety of job opportunities open to us after we graduate, so knowing code can't possibly hurt.

The author also wrote a follow-up piece about the most important skills future journalists should learn in j-school. I think the Merrill College definitely incorporates the topics this author listed into our four-year academic plan, but this article has inspired me to educate myself in these areas even more. The skills the author lists are: statistics, data, studies, pitching, civic issues, online writing and the Internet. A lot of these are covered in JOUR352 and other journalism courses, but what do you think we need to learn more about as Merrill students? And, how do you think coding will help your future careers? Prof. Harvey - what are your thoughts on the coding article? Do you think we should consider taking the next course in coding and web design in order to really develop these skills to make them beneficial? Is knowing the basics not enough in this competitive field?


Journalism and Pinterest - What Sites Do You Like?

We're talking in class today about how Pinterest is being used by news sites to engage readers and drive users back to news sites.

Your assignment today: Create an account on Pinterest and create at least three virtual boards of interest to you, with at least two pins on each.

Then browse on Pinterest for boards and pins of news sites you enjoy (go to pinterest.com/source/nytimes.com to see all pinned content from the New York Times, for instance). Select one that you find especially useful/fun/worthy of your time, and describe it in a comment to this post, below. Be sure to provide a link to the board or pin you like.


Is sports journalism leading the way?

I stumbled across this blog post from Bleacher Report and it definitely got me thinking about how sports writers (or writers in general) will operate in the future, and if it will be any different from the way they operate now.

In the blog, the author makes the point that the multimedia work done in the sports journalism world right now is great because there isn't as much breaking news and they can take the time to plan their projects. While I agree that the multimedia work being produced in the sports field is very good, I disagree about the "breaking news" part. There is a ton of breaking news in sports, it just doesn't overlap with the features that these sites like Deadspin produce. In regular news, however, the features and the news often overlap. For instance, in the case of the Navy Yard shooting, the interactive pieces we saw in class were made simultaneously with the hard news pieces about the event.

This article also makes some other interesting points that relate to our class. A multimedia journalism expert from Ball State talks about the significance of journalists being able to code and how the market for that skill is "huge." The author makes the point that when it comes to someone saying, "there's a huge market for journalists..." you should probably stop and listen.

The blog goes in a few different directions, but the emphasis on multimedia and digital journalism is there.


The New Wave of Mobile Journalism

In the early 1990s, the Internet threatened the newspaper when it took over journalism and reporting.  This Poytner article explores how the sensation of smart phones and tablets will effect the news industry as all organizations scramble to have a big presence in the mobile world.

This article brings up the debate of whether news organizations need to take the approach where they simply extend what they are already doing to their mobile site or if they need to completely focus on having a mobile presence in order to take advantage of the changes in technology.  Regardless of what choice the organization makes, mobile journalism is bringing about radical changes.

Many valid points are raised in this article on why newsrooms need to become "mobile first."  Personally, I am always checking my phone for news updates.  I always have my iPhone and don't always have my computer or a TV near me.  Tablets and iPads are so popular that it is not uncommon for a person to carry one around with them.  Apps on all of these devices make it so easy to receive news updates and in my opinion, news organizations should be focusing on how they can make the biggest imprint in the mobile world.

I agree in this article that in the coming future, mobile journalism is going to surpass the web.  It is accessed much easier and in crazy day to day life, not all people have time to sit down and read a newspaper or watch the news.  They want to be able to find out what is going on in the world right at their fingertips.

I am not sure what effect this will have on the news industry.  I think by focusing on the mobile world there will be a lot of success for many organizations.  But, what do you think?  What effect will this have on the world of journalism?