Future jobs for journalists

In my travels, I encounter smart people who are really thinking about tomorrow, and I love to engage them in discussions. Here, culled from recent encounters, are some thoughts about four jobs that you’ll find in the not-so-distant (perhaps tomorrow) future:

  1. Editor — yes, editor, only not in the hierarchical sense of traditional newsrooms. This person will be responsible for tweaking all web content to make sure it aligns with the stated goals and purposes of the organization. This person will know and understand the intricacies of marketing and promotion and how every word in a web story — from the headline to the smallest detail — is important. In a world where reporters are firing back “content” from the field using whatever technology is best suited, mistakes are going to be made and pictures are going to need to be added. This will be the role of the editor, and it is especially crucial in a continuous news environment.

  2. Advertising producer — in a world where everyone is a media company, including advertisers, those “media companies” need producers, and this is where a lot of former traditional journalists will find work in the years to come. Each automobile on a car dealer’s lot, for example, is “content” for that company’s website. How will they be presented/produced? Who will do this work? Everything is a story and there’s conflict and resolution in everything.

  3. Discussion monitor — today’s participatory world requires monitoring by media companies that wish to exploit the conversation that is news in ways that will enhance their coverage of issues in the community. Today, most media companies see (and use) Twitter and Facebook as ways to get their messages out, but it’s the messages coming back in that are most important. We need somebody to monitor all of that, including the comments on stories or anything else we do, in order to claim to be a part of the conversation. So get as many followers as you can, yes, but also follow anybody you can find locally and monitor their messages.

  4. Live stream hub anchor — this person’s job will be an entire shift of live streaming the news day. Armed with access to reporters, editors, weather and sports anchors, and discussion monitors, this person will deliver a constant stream of live coverage throughout the day, beginning prior to and including the morning meeting. Live reports from the field via phoners or Skype, access to RSS feeds and wire services, chat and regular breaks will make up the stream. Users will come and go throughout the day, but the content stream will be consistent and moving forward.

I also believe that every content creator will have a blog, that news organizations will hire freelance independent journalists rather than paying all as employees, that news websites will organize information in such a way that users can create their own experience, that research will be continual, that the farm system for local news will be local, and that connecting businesses with consumers is the answer to how news gets funded downstream.

I believe lots of other things too, but if I told you them all, you’d have to pay me.


  1. […] Future jobs for journalists. Terry Heaton looks ahead and identifies some of the new job possibilities, including live stream hub anchor. […]

  2. […] While I try to stay upbeat on this blog and do believe that in time non-newsroom journalists can find the same kind of challenging work and make a living wage that they once enjoyed in newsrooms, right now it’s hard to envision that. They’re stepping into an economic recession that’s deeper and the prospects for a quick recovery are gloomier than when I walked out into the Great Wide Open in September. […]

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