Recruiter: "Content producers are reporters of present/future"

I previously blogged about Sign On San Diego's interactive job fair, and now that it's live and running, I didn't miss an opportunity to chat live with a San Diego Union-Tribune recruiter. Here are the basics of our chat Monday:

[Comment From Lauren] I'm a journalism student, but very few people I know are actually graduating to get journalism jobs. In the next few years, where do you see the biggest need in the journalism industry? Where should I focus my studies now to ensure I get a journalism job in two years?

Chris Courter: kudos to you: This is an outstanding question. I would recommend learning online skills such as HTML, some common programming languages, and a content management system in an effort to pursue online positions such as content producers. Content producers are the reporters of the present and future.

[Comment From Lauren] Chris, when you say "content" producer, are you talking editorial-related content (multimedia/interactive reporting?) or more of marketing-related content (such as this job fair)?

Chris Courter: We hire both types on a regular basis and will continue to do so. The variables that distinguishes journalists these days are their multimedia and online skills.

His response, although seemingly good news for a new media enthusiast such as myself, wasn't satisfying. I still feel like I won't get a job. So yesterday, I asked a different recruiter a similar question during the live chat.

[Comment From Lauren] I asked this same question of Chris yesterday, but now I want to hear your perspective. I'm a journalism major but I don't feel as though I'm going to get a job in the journalism industry, despite my web knowledge. Is there anything else I should focus on to ensure I get a journalism job by the time I graduate in 2 years? Graphic design? Marketing? Or should I just give up on the journalism industry?

Alicia from the U-T: That's a good question. Only you know if you want to pursue another field.

Alicia from the U-T: Internships are also a great way of getting experience and networking.

Alicia from the U-T: Journalism is a tough industry but I think there still are a lot of opportunities.

Alicia from the U-T: Networking in this industry is key. Consider going to association meetings.

As you can see, even those working in the industry don't really know how to answer the question. But two key things are taken from these conversations -- to get a journalism job you need to know the web and you need to know people. The end.

P.S. I encourage everyone to take a look at the job fair this week. It's a completely innovative approach to looking for jobs online with speaker session podcasts, resume critiques, company video, live chats and more. The Union-Tribune chat is happening right now until 2:00 p.m. PST.