By Mark Stencel and Kim Perry

Superpowers: The Digital Skills Media Leaders Say Newsrooms Need Going Forward
News organizations want to hire new kinds of journalists who combine coding, visual production and audience acquisition skills with traditional reporting competence and even a little entrepreneurial savvy. This report describes the “superpowers” news leaders say they need now, and why. 

Table of Contents

Key Findings
Superpowers

Superpowers

  • What kind of talent does new media need?
Audience first

Audience first

  • Understanding consumption to build audience
Between the lines: coders and developers

Between the lines: coders and developers

  • The growing need for ‘newsroom-friendly coders’
Visual storytelling: what you see...

Visual storytelling

  • Photo and video production and editing needed to meet editorial and business goals
Products, teams and leadership

Products, teams and leadership

  • The importance of product-focused roles and why new media teams  need them
Transformation and collaboration: church meets state

Transformation and collaboration: church meets the state

  • The need for journalists to care about the business side of news
Beyond the data on data journalism

Beyond the data on data journalism

  • There’s plenty of data, but not enough people to make sense of it.
The editorial foundation and competitive advantage

The editorial foundation and competitive advantage

  • The need for core skills doesn’t disappear. Good, concise writing is always a priority.
Appendix: Interviews

Send Us Your Feedback & Learn More About This Research

Please send us your feedback and suggestions for future Tow-Knight Center research. Also click here if you have questions about this study, or if you would like to view data we collected.

About the Authors

Mark Stencel

Mark Stencel is co-director of the Duke Reporters’ Lab and a visiting lecturer in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. He is the author of a 2015 American Press Institute report on the impact of political fact-checking (http://bit.ly/factcheckthis) and co-author of “The Goat Must Be Fed,” a 2014 Reporters’ Lab study of newsroom obstacles to digital innovation (http://goatmustbefed.com). He previously was NPR’s managing editor for digital news and held senior management positions at The Washington Post and Congressional Quarterly. He also covered science and technology for The News & Observer in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He began his career as an assistant to Washington Post political columnist David S. Broder. He is the board chair for the Student Press Law Center and an advisory board member for Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism in Macon, Georgia.

Kim Perry

Kim Perry is a senior editor on the Digital Transition team at the New York Times. Previously she was director of Editorial Coaching and Development at NPR, where she led multi-platform training and newsroom strategy efforts at public media newsrooms across the country. Between 2008 and 2013, she headed up two digital training initiatives funded by the Knight Foundation — first for NPR staff and management, and then for public media member stations. Before coming to NPR, she worked at the San Diego Union-Tribune and SignOnSanDiego.com as a content producer and newsroom trainer. She’s previously reported for the Associated Press in Alaska, The Modesto Bee and other Bay Area newspapers. She is a 2006 graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.