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Why Scripps and Google are hiring print journalists to deliver news

Some of America’s best newspapers are still made by newspapers, said Adam Symson, president and CEO of The EW Scripps Company, one of the largest newspaper companies in the United States.

“And yet, unfortunately, due to economic pressures on the newspaper industry, local newspapers in particular are losing their relevance and reach,” Symson said. “And as a result of all the downsizing, our industry is losing a lot of these great journalists to other careers.”

Symson, who became Scripps CEO in August 2017, said he wanted to attract and retain top journalists. That’s why this week the broadcasting company announced the Scripps Journalism Journey Initiative, a multi-year initiative with Google that would help transition experienced journalists with primarily print backgrounds into careers in broadcast media. Selected journalists will be hired into full-time career positions in Scripps’ local and national media newsrooms. According to a press release, these positions can include specialist/specialist reporters, specialist executive producers, photojournalists, writers/managers, documentary producers and editors.

In a written statement, David Brooks, director of global news partnerships at Google, called the initiative “a great opportunity to support mid-career journalists looking for new challenges or a new direction to revive the passion that drove them to journalism in the first place.”

Symson said The EW Scripps Company has hired many print journalists over the past few years, but the lack of infrastructure to help train and develop those journalists has been a barrier to hiring more. . The program promises extensive training and support, including mentoring, job shadowing, hands-on work and one-on-one coaching.

“We intend to help transition around writing skills, around understanding the difference between print and broadcast writing, around presentation, depending on whether the person is going to make the transition to do on-air work. And if they’re not going to be doing on-air work, understanding the elements of producing television plays from a videography perspective,” Symson said. “We already believe that many print photojournalists come to our newsrooms with the video skills to become exceptional video journalists. There is a certain nuance with the equipment that we use. There is some understanding of how to work in our medium from a story production perspective, but (these are) immediately transferable skills.

When asked if the company is interested in journalists who have been laid off or wish to retire from printing, Symson replied “any and all,” including journalists, editors, photojournalists, data reporters, specialist journalists, editors and managers.

Symson said the creation of this new program has everything to do with the decline of print newspapers. He called the decline problematic because the industry is losing journalists with every takeover or industrial action at a newspaper. He added that he wants to maintain a healthy journalistic ecosystem and noted that what has kept some print journalists from joining broadcast newsrooms is the issue of developing the skills needed for the job.

“They already have the journalism part, but they have to have the platform delivery,” he said. “And so, putting the infrastructure in place to be able to recruit, train and retain mid-career journalists and launch them into careers in the Scripps newsrooms is the opportunity.”

Applications for the Scripps Journalism Journey Initiative should be available in early summer. Symson said he didn’t have a pay scale for the positions, but stressed they weren’t entry-level positions. He said the range would depend on the market, and a role in management is also different.

To carry out the program, the company is currently recruiting a team.

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