Students in MEJO 557, Advanced Editing, are writing guest posts for this site this semester. This is the eighth of those posts. Brittney Robinson is a UNC-Chapel Hill transfer student studying journalism, with a prior degree in broadcasting and production. Having previously interned at TV station WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina, and radio station WNCW, she is looking to gain skills in print media as well.
As I walked through the doors of the place where I was going to spend a majority of the next few years of my life, an eagerness to learn coupled with excitement and nervousness swept over me. It was my first day of college, and I was ready to learn all there was to know about the field of mass media. Over the next couple of years I learned all about television and radio, which brought me to internships in both, teaching me skills in just about every aspect of the two.
Here I am now, having transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill, learning about print news and editing. Over the past few years, I’ve realized just how diverse my skills have become as a result, and why this is so important in current times.
Technology is advancing at rapid speed, and so has the expectation for employees to have broader skills. Here are some commonalities I keep encountering across all areas of news, which can be assets when editing in today’s technology world.
To start, no matter what aspect of news and information you go into, the skills gained in one area will likely cross over. For example, if your expertise is broadcasting, that doesn’t mean you can’t use some of those skills to land a job in editing print later. Yes, media is competitive and no two areas are exactly alike, but if you want to expand your job options, there are plenty of similarities between platforms.
Digital, broadcast, radio and print all require deadlines and news judgement. So does editing. You will need to be able to adhere to deadlines and have a keen eye for news. This includes being able to spot errors, pick proper stories and communicate effectively. Even if you aren’t the one interviewing people, you will still need to be able to understand the details of a story to get your thoughts across to consumers and peers.
According to “The Great War: The Similarities and Differences of Print and Television Media” by the website Inquiries Journal, Scott Berghegger mentions “both media report the same stories, and both carry within them a message within a message.”
Having an eye for detail is another aspect I’ve come across. Early in my academic career, I was surrounded by student peers that were mainly interested in behind-the-scenes production. I usually elected to be on camera when we had to form groups and pick roles. When it came time for me to take my first stab at my own video production, I was petrified. Here I was, a freshman, putting on my training wheels.
Little did I know this would be the most memorable moment to date in my academic career. Why? Because it challenged me to think on my own, look for proper video to complement my story and realize my own potential.
As a journalism student, I can’t stress enough how crucial these skills are in regards to editing. As an editor, you present a finished product that is both appealing and compelling. And possibly more important than anything, is the ability to not always agree with your colleagues on stories.
So those are my tips. The communication skills I learned in college, along with the day I was tasked with tackling the video camera, helped me develop the confidence needed. In addition, the internships I later took with WLOS and WNCW proved to me that I could carry the skills I learned to the editing desk as well.