Building the perfect graduate

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Contemporary Arts




Callaghan, Ruth and McManus, Joanna, Building the perfect graduate: What news employers want in new hires, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 20, 2010, 9-22. Available at:


The converged media environment has prompted journalism educators to question whether they should increase the use of digital media technology in the classroom and teach across multiple platforms. Newsroom surveys, however, reveal that Australian and US news employers are emphasising traditional journalism skills. This paper examines whether journalism schools are producing graduates with skills sets that media organisations may not consider highly critical to a cadetship. Research was undertaken to examine graduate skills deemed most important by West Australian news employers. The findings echo US employers in their preference for traditional journalism skills, such as good writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, general knowledge and understanding of ethics. Digital skills remain the poor cousin. But they also want graduates who embody the journalistic ‘ideal’: curious, hard-working, driven news hounds, a passion for writing and reporting.

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