The myriad skills employers now expect of journalism graduates

Based on what employers and recent graduates are telling him, a journalism professor compiles a list of skills demanded by the current job market. I find this list informational and am sharing it with my readers:

  • Multimedia storytelling skills. Producing slideshows with sound, shooting and editing video and photos, writing for the web.
  • Data and statistical skills for storytelling. Collecting, editing, analyzing and interpreting data to produce compelling interactive maps and graphics.
  • Audience development skills (formerly known as marketing and circulation) such as managing online communities, interpreting data on audience behavior, crowdsourcing for information, interacting with the audience.
  • Basics of programming. How to create compelling pages that attract web audiences.
  • The business of media. Journalists can help a news organization generate revenues without compromising their ethics, and today that skill is more important than ever.

This list is retrieved from What journalism schools can and can’t teach students. In that article, James Breiner, the author, argues that a university cannot possibly teach students everything on that list. Breiner says, “No university can teach a student everything they need to know in their future career. That’s what life does.”

My own research also shows that universities are not doing enough to teach those skills. Last year, I surveyed more than 500 journalism/communication degree programs in U.S. for the type of digital skills courses offered; based on the survey findings, it seems few, if any, journalism programs have a curriculum that incorporates all the skills listed above. More and more j-schools are offering multimedia storytelling courses, but the other skills are not being adequately represented in the curriculum.

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About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (, a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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6 Responses to The myriad skills employers now expect of journalism graduates

  1. From what I can see there is still a very traditional mindest in a lot of J-school teaching. I especially think the ability to access, value and interpret data is critical. Finally — you know what people are reading (and what they’re not) instead of guessing, or asking the journalist at the desk next to you what they think.

  2. mulinblog says:

    True. I am deeply worried about the many traditional, dedicated print journalism programs – that “print” name alone is confining students’ mindset to focus on legacy media, whereas surveys show journalism students themselves are not reading newspapers.

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  4. Andrea Gillhoolley says:

    The items you listed are the reinvented journalism jobs. I would also add that reporters should be able to use certain apps like it’s second nature. These include Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, some type of video app (our company is using Tout), Scanner radio (for the crime/breaking news reporter), Youtube, Skype and I’m sure I’m missing a lot.

    • mulinblog says:

      Thanks for the comments. You are right – mobile should be an integral part of “multimedia storytelling skills.”

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