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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

What Makes The Perfect Multimedia Journalist?

The ATVN newsroom lives and dies by the effort of your daily multimedia journalists, individuals that take time out of their busy schedule to either volunteer or work a class requirement in the packed Media Center. 

During a typical Tuesday I interact with about eight or nine multimedia journalists, many of whom are doing an excellent job this semester. I noticed this a little bit when I was in their shoes, but the best journalists are rather noticeable and highly appreciated by management because of their consistent contributions to the newscast. We have a lot of talented kids, and I’d love to give them their props on an individual basis. But what makes an MJ exceptional in my eyes, without any close second, is some curiosity and a willingness to learn. 

Attitude means everything. The way you approach the role is paramount to your overall success or failure as a multimedia journalist. My best MJs come in every week asking questions, always pressing for rundown assignments and other responsibilities to stay active. I love that stuff, it really makes my job a lot easier and inspires my positive attitude throughout the day.

Another thing I always stress is to stay on point. The distractions are numerous, trust me I fall into them all the time, but when people care they can get stuff done in a timely manner. That’s all I’m really asking. When you are assigned something, get after the work. Ask questions. Look up the wires. Find information online, do whatever it takes to help advance the story.

Many of our best journalists are also not afraid to call either me or Jillian out on stuff if they think something needs to be changed. We like that stuff, please feel free to speak your mind. When I come over to edit scripts, correct some audio levels or whatever, I love when people ask me questions about how I do my job, or why I made that small edit here or there? It shows us that you really care, or at least want to learn more about how the rundown operates.

It does help if these MJs also have a general understanding of the basic news going on the world. As students in the journalism program (for the most part we all are) a big part of our curriculum revolves around being up to date and in the know on a variety of topics. Have that mindset early in the week and the day-of-air stuff will come second nature. I would be naive to say that it is easy to do all of these things every single week, but a positive attitude, curious mind and passion for news will make you stand out during the MJ shift.

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