As I contemplate my future in the world of public relations I cannot help but think that this is an exciting time to be entering into the world of journalism and public relations. The fields are changing more than ever before, so our methods and tactics must change with them. While some traditional techniques and skills are, and shall forever be, important, there are others that are quite new.

In Dave Fleet’s blog “Conversations at the Intersection of Communications, PR and Social Media,” he lists these skills, both traditional and new skills and attributes that all public relations practitioners should have in their bags. The first skill that he lists is writing. The importance of writing should never be understated. Regardless of how technological things become in the future, if you are not able to effectively communicate then you will not be able to do your job. Other skills that Fleet lists for traditional attributes are attention to detail, media relations, proactiveness and work ethic.

The new skills that Fleet refers to are blogging, microblogging, social networking tools (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon), search engine optimization, basic html coding, RSS feeds and readers, blogger relations and social media ethics.

In a lot of ways the traditional skill set relates to the new. Blog writing differs greatly from press release writing, and you almost have to be more proactive when working with new media than before. Updating twitter on a regular basis, which could mean multiple times a day, and with the field changing so rapidly it is increasingly important to stay in tune with the new trends and be able to distinguish fads from the future.

New media is having an even more significant impact on journalists than pr professionals, as MSU alum and former writer for the Star Tribune, Tim O’Brien, has learned. He is a victim of some of the paper’s massive layoffs that were a result of declining revenue and increased cost. O’Brien stated that one of the reasons he may have gotten the chop was because he wasn’t up to date with the new media trends and with multimedia journalism.

In Vadim Lavrusik’s Mashable article, “8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist,” he discusses some of the new traits that journalists must posses in order to be successful, or to even survive in the business. Although the title of the article indicates it is for tomorrow’s journalists, the reality is that these are traits that TODAY’s journalists must have in order to make it.

Like with public relations, traditional skills are still very important for journalists. As Lavrusik states, “fundamental skills will be more important than ever as audiences search for credibility on the Web.”

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