According to those who come up with names for things we do or that identify us, I’m now officially a hybrid journalist.
A what? A hybrid because I write, I take photographs and I shoot video. Much of the time, I use the same camera to shoot both still and video: A Canon 5D, MK III that is used by photojournalists, documentary filmmakers and even those who shoot feature films.
As news media moves more and more away from specialization and more towards those who can do more than one thing, it was inevitable that someone would come up with a name for what we do.
Hybrid journalists now have a discussion forum on LinkedIn, the magazine Videomaker published a story, “10 Tips for Guerrillas on the Go,” a guide for hybrid journalists not recently but three years ago, and author Andrew Chadwick has published a book, “The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power.”
Hybrid journalists are also those of us who write and produce visuals for different media. In my case, that means print (newspapers and magazines), television and the Internet. Since I own and run the oldest political news web site on the Internet — Capitol Hill Blue — I suppose that makes me an ancient hybrid. Actually, as someone who worked as both a reporter and a photographer for The Roanoke Times in the mid sixties, my hybrid nature goes back a half century.
“Hybrid journalist” also applies to bloggers who report news. There is, of course, a lot of debate about whether or not a blogger is a journalist but as someone who was a journalist first and then a blogger I’ll stay out of that discussion.
But, as someone who has written news articles, taken news photographs and shot new documentaries for five decades, I guess I can learn to live as what they now call a “hybrid.”
I’ve been called worse.