Sarah Beth Costello
February 10, 2009
The duties of a reporter have changed significantly in the past 10 years.
Not long ago, most newspapers hired reporters solely for their writing and reporting skills. But journalism has evolved over the last decade as the Internet has increasingly become more prevalent.
The Times-News is a small local paper in a region many in North Carolina deem as “the country”. The paper is responsible for reporting local news and public interest stories, and has a broad circulation extending throughout Alamance County.
A couple of years ago, the majority of the Times-News staff were not technologically minded. Any media that accompanied a written piece was appreciated, even if it was a short video captured on a cell phone.
Kreitman expects much more from the reporters as the Internet continues to grow. Over the past year and a half, a big focus has been placed on improving video for the Web site.
Through Freedom Communications,Inc., the owners of the Times-News and many other newspapers and TV stations, Kreitman and other reporters were able to attend several seminars and conferences.
“[Now] all [our] reporters know how to shoot video, most of them can take photos and also, of course, write their stories,” said Kreitman.
The accessibility of the Internet enables reporters to post headlines via cell phones and laptops while in the field. Reporters are able to continually update stories until the full story has evolved.
“Reading our newspaper online, you gain so much,” said Kreitman, “you sort of get the play-by-play.”
INNOVATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
In order to keep a broad audience when the Internet has replaced the need for many to subscribe to a printed publication, journalists must be innovative.
Over the last year, the Times-News has offered several contests to interest and attract readers. Subscribers can participate in online contests during basketball season, and attempt to predict the winners in order to win prizes.
Other contests emerged, including the dirtiest car contest, the best Christmas decorations and the ugliest recliner. The ugliest recliner contest received 45 entries and 50,000 votes. The page views sky rocketed as readers submitted entries, and cast their votes.
Despite some pessimism concerning journalism’s future, Kreitman is hopeful that this new era of journalism will be fruitful.
Reporters are not only writing anymore. They are photographing events, capturing and editing video, and updating websites and blogs.
According to Kreitman, the newspaper businesses are looking for younger and innovative reporters who have the ability to do more than write.
“You guys,” Kreitman said to a class of Elon journalism students, “have the biggest advantage the way you were raised and brought up with technology.”
Kreitman discusses the training journalists are now receiving at the Times-News:
Visit Alex Kreitman’s Blog