There are some undeniable truths about myself that I have come to recognize in my 25 years of living: I’m a terrible cook (I can mess up milk and cereal), I can’t draw to save my life (unless you’re talking stick figures) and the world of technology, computers and the digital age will always be an enigma to me—or so I thought. As I enter my junior year of college as a journalism major, the focus of my education has shifted from writing to coding and from reporting to blogging. The Internet is now the home of journalism, replacing many physical copies of magazines and newspapers. Understanding how to navigate the technological tools and applications to build this home is becoming essential to existing and emerging journalists. I am not alone in this thinking. In Poynter’s “Pyramid of Journalism Competence,” technology is listed in the third tier, right under civics and culture.
I am currently in the midst of an accelerated summer internship at Vegas Seven magazine where I work in the web and editorial department. That’s right, web and editorial. In just the past four weeks I’ve worked with WordPress, HTML coding, Adobe Photoshop, Premier Pro, InDesign and iMovie—and all I really wanted to do was write! But the days of just writing and reporting are over for journalists. We must become capable of multitasking between print and multimedia, the physical and the technological, the hard copy and the digital copy. And I have to admit this wasn’t something I originally thought I could do. Before my internship I was a bit of a klutz with technology and I thought HTML sounded more like a nightclub on the strip rather than computer terminology. But now that I’m in the thick of it, I find technology to be a not-so-difficult hill to climb, and what’s more, it has become an amazing counterpart to the physical realm of journalism.
And not only amazing, necessary too! Journalists need technology for sustainability of their field. Technology is not stifling, in fact it is only broadening our audience and projecting our work to places once unimaginable of reaching. I can report, write, publish, advertise and add multimedia to my story all in one day. This is the new age of journalism, the age of digitalization. We need the Internet, we need technology and we need computers and we need to know how to use and operate all three. The sooner the better too. According to an article in The Guardian, many US colleges are catching onto the trend of the digitalization of journalism and are now offering computer-programming classes alongside journalism courses. That means our peers are going to know their stuff and we’d better be just as prepared. I definitely plan on it.
Embracing this new digital age of journalism means adapting to our new technological surroundings. And adaptation is nothing new for journalists. As the field grows, so does its workers. It is my personal opinion that journalists are the forward thinking, progressive players in media, we are purveyors of the new and unusual, we are on the cusp what’s happening. So why should our thoughts on technology be any different? I bet early journalists never saw the Printing Press as burden or bother. Let’s look at digitalization the same way Johannes Gutenberg might look at it today, as a revelation, a instrument of expansion and an evolution of the industry. Hmm, I wonder if Johannes would have an Instagram…