Somebody actually agrees with me!

Leonard Apcar, editor-in-chief of, apparently supports one of my long-standing beliefs — that people getting into the news business (and those already in but trying to protect their jobs for the future) ought to know HTML and even Macromedia Flash. According to the Queens College student newspaper, The Knight News, Apcar told a conference at the City University of New York recently that blogs are a major force to be reckoned with.

While it is not necessary to be skilled in writing HTML format (Hyper Text Markup Language, used to create documents on the World Wide Web) for many blogs, Apcar advised that if one is looking into a career as a reporter, it is vital to learn HTML as well as the software program Macromedia Flash, which allows for multimedia presentations.
Apcar’s admonition is well taken here, but it’s out in the field where it needs to be heard. Students are one thing, but people already doing the work need to be equally armed for tomorrow.


  1. HTML is the key to a career in journalism?

    Ay, carumba! That’s like advising journalism students in 1985 to memorize Atex formatting codes. In other words, it’s advising people to waste their time learning something that will, in fact, be of no use to them when they actually get a job.

    Yes, journalists should learn the Web and think about ways of breaking out of dead-tree paradigms. Yes, yes, yes!

    But learning what has become a behind-the-scenes technology just seems like a waste of time in an era of WYSIWYG editors and content-management systems. I’d much rather have my reporters, well, reporting, and leave the graphical presentation to the graphic artists on staff.

  2. Right, Adam, but what happens when there are no graphic artists on staff?

  3. Sure. And what if there’s no technical staff, either?

    Then you’re basically reduced to somebody figuring out how to do his own Weblog. Which these days can be done without knowing much HTML.

    But I see where you’re headed: I’m all in favor of people learning things such as Flash, and mapping programs and how to use a digicam, etc., etc., all of which can help tell a story online. Although at some point you have to stop and think: What about basic reporting skills? Surely those still count for something regardless of medium.

    But I just don’t think you need to become an HTML expert to tell a story well.

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