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Speaker Q&A: Jon Bernstein, New Statesman deputy editor

Submitted by on December 22, 2009 – 10:56 am | 3,302 views

news:rewired is asking its speakers to tell us more about themselves. Next up is New Statesman deputy editor Jon Bernstein on the challenges of working as a multimedia journalist.

The full line-up of speakers is at this link, but you can hear more from Jon on his personal website and by reading his regular posts for the Journalism.co.uk Editors’ Blog.

Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get into the journalism industry?
I knew I wanted to be a journalist and took the first job I was offered, as an editorial assistant on an obscure trade magazine for a pitiful salary back in 1992. But once you’re in there and show ample enthusiasm and a modicum of talent, you are invariably given the opportunity to show what you can do. That was certainly the case with me and I moved regularly between titles, getting the occasional promotion (and, even less occasional, pay rise) along the way. I moved from print to online in 1997 and only in 2009 did I return to print, albeit with plenty of online thrown in for good measure.

What is the most challenging aspect of working as a multimedia journalist in your opinion?
The relentlessness – 24/7 means 24/7.

What benefits can learning how to use multiple media bring to a journalist’s work?
Working across media, helps hone your journalism. Each media has different demands – the rhythm varies and each requires a different tone of voice. Headlines that work in print, don’t online; and word counts that are acceptable online are not in print. Oh, and people that write letters in green ink to magazines (and can be ignored) leave comments on your blog morning, noon and night (and can’t easily be ignored). That last point, while not a benefit, is worth knowing nonetheless.

One online tool you couldn’t live without for your work and why?
My RSS Reader. Twitter is an obvious choice (and fantastic tool), but an RSS Reader gives you something else – it allows you to browse (twice daily in my case) all your trusted news sources, across all your areas of interest, all in one place. You have to be pretty disciplined: reading it regularly, removing feeds that are no longer useful and adding new discoveries. But if you keep on top of it, it’s invariably rewarding, throwing up, as it does, a handful of stories, ideas and follow-ups each visit.

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