One of the great things about studying at The College of Saint Rose involves the field experiences faculty members provide through the classes they teach. These events allow students to meaningfully interact with professionals in their fields of study, and apply course concepts to real world situations. This is true whether you’re learning at the undergraduate or graduate level.
My visit to the home base of the Albany Times Union this week is a prime example of what I’m talking about. I stopped by 645 Albany-Shaker Road with some fellow graduate students in the Saint Rose communications program to meet with Greg Stapleton – education and circulation community manager for the Times Union.
Mr. Stapleton provided us with a tour of the TU’s facilities, and taught us about the past, present, and potential future of his organization. Much of what he had to say was both enlightening and engaging, but one topic of conversation stuck out to me in particular. It dealt with how the news business is rapidly changing.
Early on in the tour, Mr. Stapleton mentioned that employees in the TU newsroom, be they photojournalists or staff writers, are asked to do everything. This includes shooting video, writing, and/or taking still photos. When I pressed him about how important it is for potential, new, and longtime journalists at his publication to possess a multitude of new media skills, he responded by saying, “it’s a requirement…it’s not negotiable, you need to be able to do it.”
This was a good message for journalism students to hear. News organizations generally don’t send crews of employees out to gather news anymore. They send one, maybe two individuals out to shoot video, capture still images, and record audio, and they expect these same individuals to then blog about, tweet, and otherwise post this content to a number of designated web destinations on a deadline. This achieves the dual purpose of lowering personnel costs and responding to the demands of news consumers.
For the reasons stated above, journalists now need to be jacks-of-all-trades who have a number of new media skills at their disposal to be successful. This is why graduate level training is so valuable to communications students.
I welcome any thoughts on the above observations. I also welcome any stories you might have about Saint Rose field experiences that were valuable to you. I think we all can point to one or two that had an impact for us.