Digital Training Comes of Age

I helped write a new report on professional development for journalists for the Knight Foundation. “Digital Training Comes of Age” was released Aug. 9.

Key findings:

  • Professional development has impact. It helped journalists learn the multimedia skills needed to create new, engaging story forms. It provided the entrepreneurial skills needed to start new local news ventures. It taught university professors the digital fluency needed to teach the latest best practices. Training helped journalists investigate wrongdoing and prompt policy change.
  • A growing demand for training as journalists adapt to the 21st century’s evolving media ecosystems. Journalists want more training in digital tools such as multimedia, data analysis and technology. Most give their news organizations low marks for providing training opportunities.
  • Digital classes are gaining popularity as a cost-effective way to reach more trainees. A third of U.S. journalists and eight in 10 international journalists say the online classes they took were as good as, or better than, conventional training in the classroom.
  • Training organizations are adapting to the digital age. They are providing more training online and rethinking how their programs can foster the transformation of journalism.

The report also notes that the news industry can use training to propel change and innovation, but few traditional news organizations are doing that. Knight Foundation, meanwhile, has invested heavily in journalism education – $150 million in the past 10 years.

It is the fourth Knight report on journalism training in the past decade, including “News, Improved,” which I co-authored in 2007.

Update: Here’s  a post about the report on The Hub, a site for nonprofit news organizations.