Journalism: Degradation or Transformation?

This was forwarded to me by one of my professors regarding ABC News’ recent decision to lay off a number of employees and move toward the use of multi-functioning journalists. The following was written to my professor by Stephen Coon, a former coordinator of the Electronic Media Studies department of the Greenlee School of Journalism:

Although there has been a trend toward using journalists who can report, shoot and edit, the inevitable result is reduced quality and accuracy.

The average viewer might not notice immediately–or even care–but those of us who practice the craft will see the further degradation at all levels.

When local stations and networks choose cost savings at the expense of good journalism, we all suffer.

What does this mean for me?

Should I stop working on my writing, editing, production, and web skills to focus on one area? If so, will I become a better journalist – or will I even have a job?

Furthermore, is this a message our school should be sending? Can we as students be taught to perform in multiple areas of journalism, or are we expected to perform in a “degraded” manner when we graduate just because we’re gaining multiple skills?

Can I be a good writer, a good editor, and a good web developer? Or am I limited by my school to be either mediocre in many areas or good in one area?

Let me know your thoughts.