What journalism schools can and can't teach students

Versión en español aquí.

A master's degree in English literature might not seem an ideal preparation for a career as a business journalist. Actually it served me well, for all the reasons given by advocates of a liberal arts education. 

But my own experience seems to have little to do with what the journalism job market is seeking today.  Should we be improving students' minds and souls or helping them get a job? 

These days I advise students to be practical. Employers and recent graduates are telling me that the current job market demands that job applicants know:

  • 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. 

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