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Five necessary soft skills for media professionals

There is a lot to consider when it comes to identifying the necessary factors that make a media specialist … well, special. But there is only one set of criteria that proves its value again and again.

And this so happens to be their sets of soft skills. But what exactly do we mean by soft skills?

Well, soft skills refer to the expertise or attitudes that one presents when conducting themselves in a professional environment.

While some of us may have seen “hygiene” and “punctuality” appear on those soft skill performance appraisal documents, this set of skills actually goes way beyond the basics.

Many measured skill sets can be found in every career path, but there are some that benefit media specialists in significant ways.

So, take our word for it and find out what these are as the team at media update looks at five in particular:

1. Teamwork

What is it?
According to OC Tanner, teamwork is “the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal”.

From a soft skills perspective, this refers to how well you can work with others — taking into account:

  • personality
  • background
  • hierarchy, and
  • role.

Why build this skill?
According to a previous article by media update, “each individual team member has a special contribution — not only to the team but also to the different projects that they work on.”

This then affects the quality of news or content that is put out to the public. It essentially has a direct effect on the receiver of your final product. In this business, people skills within the company are everything!

2. Intercultural fluency

What is it?
Towson University says, “An individual who demonstrates global and intercultural fluency is someone who shows openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity and the ability to interact with all people and understand cultural differences.”

Why build this skill?
The media space is diverse, fast-paced and ever-changing.

Any job in media will require you to not only work well with people inside your team, but you must also have a strong understanding of how to work well with different people from all over the world.

Why? This industry brings people together to inform the general public at large. Variances will come into play, and so the skills to navigate differences seamlessly are immensely desirable here.

3. Problem-solving

What is it?
While the term may be self-explanatory, it also links back to how well one can identify challenges within their field, and then resolve or improve upon that area.

It encompasses showing a little bit of innovation, as well as creativity, on the job — benefiting everyone involved.

Why build this skill?
Human rights activist Malcolm X famously said, “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power because they control the minds of the masses.”

With that in mind, we can argue the importance of solving issues within the field so that:

  • the power of media is upheld
  • media continues to benefit and empower the public, and
  • ethics, morality and the governance of media is maintained.

Issues in the media … “Aint nobody got time for that!” So, people who can find and fix said issues are well sought after.

4. Digital literacy

What is it?
Careerwise defines digital literacy as “having the skills you need to live, learn and work in a society where communication (and access to information) occur more and more through digital technologies.”

Why build this skill?
Digital media is a dominant impactor in our everyday lives. Ignoring the transition that has been made to accommodate for its nature and benefits is catastrophic for any organisation — including those in the media.

The advantages of going digital are invaluable as it:

  • saves time and money
  • is sustainable, and
  • allows you to reach a wider audience.

To keep up, you need to know how to use, learn from and benefit from the digisphere.

5. Work ethic

What is it?
Well, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term to be “a desire or determination to work hard”.

It links back to how one views the value of what they do and how seriously they take its impact on both themselves, as well as others around them.

Why build this skill?
A good work ethic ensures that the initial purpose of media is met. If media exists to inform the public, then its value must be acknowledged. Media is a powerful tool and those responsible for wielding its channels cannot take the position for granted.

A strong work ethic will also:

It makes clear sense then why this skill is so desirable in the industry.

Are there any other soft skills that you think every media professional should have? Let us know in the comments section!

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If you’re left wanting to improve upon your skill sets, check out How technology helps newsrooms and journalists maximise their skills.

*Image courtesy of Canva

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