A week doesn’t go by these days without news of another print newspaper laying off reporters or closing its doors altogether.
A new project from EW Scripps wants to help some of those reporters learn new skills to stay in journalism, just in a different format.
“Our program really focuses on bringing experienced veteran print or digital journalists over to us at Scripps, where we can transition them into broadcast and video-driven storytelling platforms there,” says Jim Iovino, program director of the new Journalism Journey Initiative, funded in part by the Google News Initiative. “They’re really adding to that skill set. In the case of our first cohort, they had print careers. They were established journalists from different markets around the country. What we’re looking for now is to bring them into our realm of journalism here, show them how to enhance their storytelling with video and have them come into our newsrooms and increase the quality of what we’re doing on air and online.”
Part of the training involves learning the language of broadcast newsrooms, something Iovino himself had to learn when he first started in TV news.
“When I first went from a newspaper to a broadcast newsroom, I started out and had no idea the difference between a VO and a VOSOT, anything like that. What was a rundown as opposed to a budget. It’s a brand new experience with new lingo, new terminology and new ways to tell stories,” he says.
The six members of the first cohort were selected from 80 applications and were selected through a “very competitive process,” says Neal Bennett, a senior talent acquisition partner at Scripps. “In a lot of ways, I was playing matchmaker, trying to find great journalists who would be a great fit in the newsrooms they were serving. At the local level, we were able to hire journalists already in the market,” including a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter in Phoenix who is already making contributions to her new newsroom’s investigative team.
Over the next two years, the JJI participants will learn how to shoot video for broadcast in addition to writing for TV and how to develop their on-air personality. Many will also work with talent coaches in order to build a presence on TV, something they haven’t needed to do before.
“They know the journalism, but they don’t know how to be on air in most cases,” Iovino says. “It’s kind of unheard of to bring folks along in this way like this, giving them this much runway and this much training, but we want to do it absolutely right, and this is something we can continue on for a few years as well and can continue this pipeline.”
Jim Iovino, program director for the Scripps Journalism Journey Initiative, and Neal Bennett, senior talent acquisition partner at Scripps, tell It’s All Journalism host Michael O’Connell about the project’s mission to train experienced print reporters for broadcast careers.