MJ Graduate Becomes Interactive Newsroom Technology Manager for AP

MJ graduate, Jonathan Stray, has got the job of Interactive Newsroom Technology Manager at the Associated Press (AP) in New York.

Jonathan Stray

The American news agency was looking for a senior technical person in their interactives and multimedia department.

Stray, an American who grew up and was educated in Canada, saw the job opening in a tweet from the Nieman Journalism Lab, a project run by Harvard University. Stray is a regular contributor to the lab which is investigating the future of journalism in the internet age.

He starts working at the AP in October.

Stray’s interest in online journalism was well known while he was at the JMSC. He graduated from the Master of Journalism Programme this summer. After graduating, he taught a summer class at the JMSC called Internet Strategy for News Organisations.

“When I read the job description, I immediately thought this is exactly what I want to do,” he says. “The job demands a mix of technical skill, journalistic judgement, and design sense. To me, this is really interesting work. I’m particularly happy that the job is very much a newsroom position, as opposed to a programming job in a technology department.”

The role will be to work out the technical aspects of the production of interactive and multimedia stories.

“Journalism is changing because of technology,” says Stray. “There are new forms of story-telling, new methods of news gathering, and of course the audience is no longer just a passive receiver. I’ve been trying to understand all these changes and I’m really excited to get a chance to experiment with some of these new ideas in a large, global, and widely read news organisation.”

He is also hoping to be part of wider discussions about digital journalism within the organisation: “Like most news organisations, the AP needs to change. This is chance for me to help create those changes.”

Stray says that his time at the JMSC gave him the opportunity to learn from other journalists already working in the profession: “I was really impressed with the experience of the faculty and the people they were able to connect me with. Also, the internship program threw me into a newsroom for the first time, which is something I badly needed.”

He offers this advice to other graduates and students about finding work:

“I believe that this is a very entrepreneurial time for journalism. It’s true that old-fashioned newsroom jobs are scarce right now but there’s such pressure on the industry to change that people who can figure out where journalism is going are in high demand. Obviously, technical skills are helpful. But I suspect that becoming hirable is more about specialisation: figure out what part of journalism you care about, get really good at that one thing, and come up with ways to move it forward.”