The newsroom has never been more exciting or demanding, NCTJ conference told

It has never been more exciting or demanding to work in a newsroom, James Mitchinson, editor of The Star, Sheffield, told delegates at the Journalism Skills Conference.

He was speaking as part of a panel discussing editorial priorities in the digital age, chaired by Peter Cole, emeritus professor of journalism at the University of Sheffield.

James said he was asking his trainees and new recruits to be “all things to all men” but stressed the continued importance of the core journalism skills.

He was joined by Tim Smith, acting head of regional and local programmes for BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, who said he looked for three things when recruiting: the ability to tell a story, find a story and see both sides of a story.

In an age when people have moved away from clock radios to flicking through Facebook and Twitter on smartphones when they wake up, Tim said the new generation will have to find new ways of attracting viewers and listeners.

James added that identifying content to suit multiple platforms had become part of the morning conference, and that finding ways of driving people to news stories on websites via social media was key.

The panellists also discussed possible opportunities for the BBC and the regional press to collaborate on local stories and current content sharing initiatives.