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Journalism skills will always be in demand, but students are going to have to be able to demonstrate a variety of abilities if they want a job in the rapidly changing news industry, according to a group of 86 editors and publishers surveyed in advance of a Midwest journalism job fair.
Nearly an equal number of the managers said they need recent graduates who have skills to tell stories in multiple formats (45), such as video and audio, and show command of the written language (40), including writing on deadline and in short bursts for the Web.
Other responses touched on similar themes of versatility: demonstrating ability to cover any type of news and being willing to take on new assignments in their work as the news industry changes.
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In a tight economy, students should take advantage of every opportunity to prepare themselves for their first job, and one of the best ways to do that is to freelance.
Seventy-one of the publishers and editors recommended that students work as a freelancer, mostly to get experience they might need to prove themselves for a full-time job.
“All experience is good, whether it be internship or freelance experience,” said Jane Hirt, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune. “Freelance experience doesn’t always lead to a full-time job, but sometimes it does. And many people are able to make a living as freelancers.”
Those interested in reading more about should check out Resources for Freelancers maintained by the Society of Professional Journalists.