Editors on the future of journalism: ‘Those who rise to the top have a flexible mind’

"The idea of being a single platform journalist has gone," said NCTJ Journalism Skills Conference panelist Joanne Cayford, digital and development editor of Newshour, BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4, in a session called “From the editor’s chair – what is the future?”

"We are looking for people who can write and have abilities in video and radio." She added that she wanted potential new recruits to be very flexible in their approach but able to "tell me a story I can't forget."

Speaking on the second day of the conference in Portsmouth, Cayford said: "We have to reach audiences who are not using radio in the same way.” She said that the ability to tell engaging stories was still fundamental to journalists applying for jobs, but she added: "We do need other things from our candidates, including digital skills and the ability to visualise radio."

Mark Payton, editorial director of Haymarket Consumer said: "We still need very good writers, but they also need an understanding of audiences and to be very good at packaging material.

"Those who rise to the top have a flexible mind."

Laura Adams, editorial director of Archant, said: "Journalism is not dying. Core skills are hugely important, but everything is changing in terms of systems and structures.

"We have to get into the hearts and minds of our audiences and understand that every community has its own quirks."

Earlier, in a session titled “Essential law: digital reporting in the courts and copyright chaos,” media lawyer Tony Jaffa warned about copyright issues surrounding lifting photographs from social media. He quoted the case of the viral picture of a dress that appeared to have different colours depending on who was viewing it. He said the photo had been seen by millions, but two websites were successfully sued for breach of copyright.

Mr Jaffa warned: "There is no safety in numbers. They may well mean you are ok, but there is no guarantee, and publishers must remember that professional photographers do value copyright."