Journalists need to become "digital natives", says CNN Digital vice president

Watch the panel session here, courtesy of Bournemouth University students Tom Bennett and Jasper Taylor:

Journalism trainers and practitioners need to embrace the social digital revolution and become “digital natives” the vice president of CNN International Digital told delegates at the NCTJ Journalism Skills Conference.

Peter Bale was speaking as part of a panel of industry professionals at the NCTJ sixth annual conference in Bournemouth on 27 November.

The panel, chaired by Stephen Jukes, dean of the media school at Bournemouth University, also including Pete Clifton, executive producer of MSN UK,and Liisa Rohumaa, journalism lecturer at Bournemouth University, discussed the key skills needed in digital journalism.

Peter Bale also highlighted the role of social media in providing sources for stories, allowing journalists to provide their audience with quality content from across the world that an audience could trust. He added: “I won't hire people unless I see evidence they are deeply engaged with social media.”

However, Peter Bale stressed it is still the people behind the profiles that are trusted by readers, not the platform itself. He said: "It’s about sharing and being a good source of information, and that's what builds your clout – literally.”

Pete Clifton, an NCTJ-trained journalist, said that “a lot of the core skills are as true today as they have ever been”, such as the ability to tell a story effectively. He said he would still throw a CV in the bin if it contained spelling errors. However, the core skills should be supplemented with technological knowledge, as well as an understanding of the business and economics of the industry.

the panel speaks good spelling, knowledge of good technology, and social media are key skills for journalism.

Liisa Rohumaa who is programme leader for BA (Hons) multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University, said the media were “far too conservative” and called for a more experimental approach to telling stories through digital media. She added there was more scope for the journalists to engage with their audience online, saying the industry needs to concentrate on adopting and adapting technology.