Expand your skill sets, try new things

With the media landscape constantly changing, no one can afford to standstill. Waiting too long to adapt to a new technology, technique or delivery method could lead to members of the community going elsewhere for their news.

Attend conferences

One of the best way to stay up-to-date on the changes in the industry is to attend conferences with your peers.

Last week I went to Louisville, Ky. for the National College Media Convention. This is the premiere convention for student journalists and their advisers.

Finding out what your peers are doing is a great way to expose yourself to new ideas and techniques. While in Louisville, I met student journalists from across the nation. I picked up a few ideas from people and helped share my knowledge with others. Where else can you critique newspapers over cereal at midnight,  spend five minutes geeking out about em-dashes or lead a discussion on how to utilize social media?

While the networking opportunities and being able to help lead a session on social media were great experiences, the best use of conferences is to learn something new.

Go beyond what you know

Carissa Ray, multimedia producer for MSNBC.com, speaks with participants about their Main Street Stories project at the Natioanl College Media Convention.

While there,  I was part of the Main Street Stories Project, which is a training workshop on multimedia. After a day of going over the basic, we were assigned a coach and turned lose to find a story on Main Street to tell. All 10 groups assembled a video and they will be added to the Mapping Main Streets project.

I readily admit I’m a total novice when it comes to video. But, when an opportunity like this comes along, it’s well worth it step outside my comfort zone. I know that I’ll never shoot and produce an award winning documentary, but getting the basics down is a good thing. My group produced a video on a local pizza shop.

The more comfortable you can get trying new things, the better off you’ll be in the professional world. It’s been stated a million times that the news industry is evolving. There are very good odds that print newspapers won’t exist at some point during my lifetime. Knowing other skills and not being afraid to learn new skills will provide new opportunities for journalists to share the news with the community.