Skip to main content
Journalist Fellows' Papers

Nerdistan–Designia–Journoland: Best practices in multi-skilled digital journalism teamwork

Reuters Institute Fellow's Paper

As the appetite for more engaging digital journalism grows among audiences and advertisers, there is a need for developers, journalists and designers to work together.

The work in multi-skilled or interdisciplinary teams, however, is not without challenges as each professional group comes from a different culture. In her paper Nerdistan–Designia–Journoland – Best practices in multi-skilled digital journalism teamwork, former managing editor of Olivia magazine in Finland, Ninni Lehtniemi examines the challenges in such team work and the ways in which cultural obstacles can be overcome.

The paper classifies three main challenges: 1) Different concepts of time, 2) Isolation of professional groups in media houses, and 3) Different attitudes towards making mistakes. Lehtniemi looks at these issues through interviewing professionals working in multi-skilled digital journalism teams. Lehtniemi argues these challenges can be overcome by learning product development and project management skills. According to her, these skills are more important than learning to code or “speak code”.

Furthermore she introduces best practices in 1) setting up a multi-skilled team, 2) utilising tools for time and project management, 3) translating the lingo of different professional groups, 4) breaking the isolation of professional groups in the media organisation, and 5) introducing fail-fast culture, familiar from tech companies to legacy media organisations.

As with all Fellows’ research papers, any opinions expressed are those of the author and not of the Institute.