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Sep 12 / King Kaufman

Only great at one thing? Keep learning about a lot of things

The other day I pointed out the advice of Bill Grueskin, the dean of academic affairs at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, that aspiring journalists should work on becoming great at a few things, rather than good at everything.

In the interest of equal time, we have some advice from Doug Mitchell, a longtime producer and director at NPR who now works as a consultant and media trainer.

In a chat at titled What digital skills do today’s journalists need?” Mitchell has a different view: Keep learning.

Comment From UbaTheDiplomat: Should aspiring journalists like myself also gain skills in web design and video editing in addition to writing?

Doug Mitchell: I would recommend that you do not shut the door on learning and learning all the time. I have a good friend who says life is long, not short and one should work to become knowledgeable or at least have an understanding of as many related things as possible.

If you are in “media” you are a curious person anyway yes? Not hard in learning another aspect of content creation. You just never know if that knowledge or understanding will help you get your next gig.

Mitchell also offers some valuable advice about using social media, including LinkedIn, a favorite of his, to maintain a presence in your community—that is, the community you build around your own work—about building and maintaining an online portfolio and, maybe most important, about always carrying extra batteries.