User Generated Content vs. Journalists Each Monday the Guardian publishes figures for newspaper circulation in the UK. Last week's poor year-on-year results led to some navel gazing about what is in store for the "traditional journalist". Apparently, more and more hacks are reskilling to acquire new technical abilities. This is in response to an Editorial demand for interactive news material. For example, in addition to the plain text of basic newspaper websites, many are acquiring multimedia and Web 2.0 expertise. The guess is that journalists who can be "producers" as well as "writers" will have the brightest future. The opposite is also true. Techies with good writing skills can get in on the act. Matt Wells of the Guardian considers that such people will be brought ever closer to the act of news production - previously an exclusive domain. He reports that this is already seen on sites like the Washington Post and San Jose Mercury News. What journalists have recognised is that they need to be familiar with these technologies in order to understand how they may be incorporated into news production. They have probably also guessed that in the not-too-distant-future they may also be asked to file reports using such devices, e.g. to post a story from a Blackberry along with video taken from its built-in camera. However, despite these changes, the role of the professional journalist should remain steady. Why? Well, we still need someone who can sniff out a good story and write compelling content with correct spellings and grammar. The challenge for the news room is manage this transition.
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