New Skills Mid-Career Journalists Should Learn

New Skills Mid-Career Journalists Should Learn

Between TikTok, AI, Threads, and podcasting, it almost goes without saying that the media industry is changing by the day.

When did you graduate from J school? There’s nothing wrong with being one of the older reporters in your newsroom, but if the answer is more than a few years ago, there’s a lot to catch up on.

If you’re a mid-career journalist, it might be time for a skillset refresh. The best writers know never to stop learning, so let’s run through some in-demand skills that can level up your craft.

Data Analytics

In our fast-paced digital world, what you see on screen is far from the only impact of the Internet revolution. Behind the scenes, data is generating a near-neverending stream of information, numbers, and – if you dabble in investigative reporting – stories.

Some of the most compelling journalism today is backed by meticulous data analysis, usually performed by the writer themselves. Tapping outside sources to interpret data risks exposing the story too early, leaving it to journalists to do the heavy lifting.

If you’re terrified of math, don’t panic – data analytics isn’t your grade school math lesson. In fact, there are plenty of data interpretation courses designed specifically for journalists. From this 95-minute Google course to this list of classes from the Global Investigative Journalism Network, there are plenty of opportunities to master this important skill.

Social Media

Despite the trope that social media can be left to the interns, serious newsrooms know that social media will inevitably house the strongest stories of the future. And no, we don’t mean reposting written stories on a media house’s social media accounts. In the not-so-distant future, digital journalists will publish stories for social media on social media.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at the TikTok accounts for NPR’s Planet Money, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. They post authentic journalism pieces in the style of trending content creators. And no, they aren’t all Gen Z reporters. Journalists of every age are finding success by embracing the organic styles of the platforms at play.

If you don’t want to be on camera, there are plenty of other skills to learn – video editing, sound mixing, post planning, and short-form script writing are all increasingly important. Learning these tactics can improve your reporting and increase your chances of getting hired.

Website Building

If you’ve ever considered going freelance, a freelance journalist already, or want to improve your digital presence, it’s essential to master basic website building. With this skill on your tool belt, you can give your reporting the digital platform it deserves while capturing the attention of your audience. Plus, employers love when teammates have this knowledge.

Can’t handle coding? There are plenty of no-code methods for building a website, including Webflow, Wix, and Squarespace. Each has its own tutorials to help you learn the basics!

With the right amount of determination, your career can flourish from here. To stay on top of trending skills and tactics, subscribe to our newsletter at 5WH.