Carole Tarrant, editor of The Roanoke Times, recently came to Radford University for the School of Communication’s third annual Communications Week. A room of almost 100 chattering students’ faces illuminated by their cellphones filled the room to hear about, “Journalism in the Digital Age.”
With technology advancing quickly, sometimes it’s difficult to stay up to date on the newest evolution of bigger and better technology, no matter how hard the world tries.
Tarrant began her keynote speech with no hesitation; she started with an introduction to what measures The Roanoke Times has taken to build a future in the digital age. Reaching 200,000 adults each week, The Roanoke Times has only skimmed the surface of the digital world by creating eTimes, the paper’s online news site that allows mobile access and sends breaking news alert texts.
As a West Virginia University graduate of 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism, Tarrant has had her share of journalistic experiences. After working all over the United States from North Dakota to Alabama and Florida, she became managing editor of The Roanoke Times in 2005 and went on to editor in 2007. As a journalist, Tarrant has been trying to stay in step with new technology while she works to keep The Roanoke Times up to date as well.
“We are looking for answers in digital,” she said.
Many students are looking for answers too, not just for the digital age but for future careers. Once a student herself, Tarrant came prepared to share her experiences by giving tips about jobs to RU students. Some tips on how to get a job or keep a job that she explained were:
- Invest in yourself
- Be and stay flexible
- Be ambitious
- Think like an entrepreneur
- Always do what your professors say.
“You have to be a continuous learner. Just know you’re in journalism; don’t get so focused on what you’re doing now, don’t do just one thing; be flexible,” Tarrant said.
Tarrant explained that the journalism field is always growing and creating new jobs; in order to know that there are many jobs, you have to be on Twitter and Facebook.
“If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, I hope you are, if you’re in journalism you better be,” she said.
With advances in technology, many still wonder, if there is still a future for print. Tarrant believes that there will always be a want or need for print in the future, most definitely in the next 5 years. She expressed that the journalism world tends to forget what’s really important in print when we are chasing digital.
Many students, the majority of whom are communications majors, attended but left with more than they had expected.
“I think that I just wanted to listen to all of the changing technologies in journalism. I am not very tech-savvy, so I think that this was a pretty neat experience,” said journalism major Keelia McCaffrey.
However, there will always be differences in the world of digital and the world of print, for some it may come easy and for some it may come harder to catch up with advances but ultimately it’s all journalism.
“You don’t get into journalism for the money, if you don’t love, don’t do it,” she said.