Many News Media Guild members do not feel sufficiently trained to handle their evolving job expectations at The Associated Press, according to an informal survey conducted by the union.
Nearly every respondent wanted training in video, and more than half said social media and photo training would be beneficial as well.
The AP does offer many webinar-based trainings for employees to access during their workday. But smaller staffs and heavy workloads make it difficult to fit that in for many employees.
“If everyone is going to be expected to shoot videos/photos by (mobile) phone, there really needs to be concentrated, in-person training. Deeply uncomfortable winging it.”
“While I can and have gone to AP Academy to watch them later, it is not the same thing as being actively involved in a training,” one member wrote. “That’s what has been missing in this largely webinar-based system; the growth (and inspiration) that comes when busy journalists are given the chance to take a pause from day-to-day work and fully concentrate on how to improve ourselves and our work.”
Another member said: “If everyone is going to be expected to shoot videos/photos by (mobile) phone, there really needs to be concentrated, in-person training. Deeply uncomfortable winging it.”
Others who have been fully trained, particularly in video and photo, expressed concerns that they have a disproportionate workload because very few others have the same skill set.
“When it comes to video and photo training, I feel like it’s a double-edged sword,” one member wrote. “If I get more training, then it will result in me being expected to do a lot more work.”
The need and the desire to update skills is apparent among Guild members.
“As the company continues its shift toward more mobile and video content, we need to make sure the staff is sufficiently trained so the AP remains an industry leader,” said Jill Bleed, chairwoman of the Guild’s professionalism committee. “Our members overwhelmingly feel that in-person, in-depth training is the most effective way to do that.”
The Guild surveyed its members over a one-week period last month.