What are employers looking for?

If anyone’s hiring these days–and some news organizations actually are–they’re looking for candidates who have it all. They want basic journalism skills and technical know-how. But you might be surprised at how different kinds of news organizations rank the importance of those two types of skills.

A study by Serena Carpenter of Arizona State University found that online news outlets are more likely to hire people with broad bodies of knowledge while traditional news organizations tend to seek new hires with solid technical skills.  Both types of employers are just as interested in the basics: solid writing skills, working under deadline, editing, teamwork and communication skills. But online newsrooms are less interested in routine technical expertise, according to a summary of the research on the AEJMC site, and more interested in “adaptive expertise,” such as knowledge of subjects other than journalism, creativity, independent and critical thinking, leadership, and problem-solving abilities

Why wouldn’t online newsrooms care just as much about technical skills? Perhaps, the study suggests, because they assume applicants already have them or because they could easily be taught.

The study was based on a review of six months of job postings at JournalismJobs.com.  It’s hardly exhaustive, but the results are food for thought.