Technical skills in journalism jobs

The students in my online media class at USC are looking for the technical skills that will help land them jobs in journalism, and I want to help them identify what those skills might be. I have a pretty good idea, of course, but I thought I’d be more quantitative in my assessment. So I took all the online job descriptions on from this year, omitted the non-technical words (like “editor”, “seeks” and “self-starter”) and built a tagcloud out of the rest. Here’s what it looks like:

created at

Update (2008.02.04): This post drew a lot more notice than I would have guessed. My favorite response comes from fellow Mizzou alum Chris Heisel, now at the AJC, who built his own tech skills tagcloud. I have a feeling Chris’ wish list comes a lot closer to nailing the critical skills than most of the postings on JournalismJobs do.

Update (2008.04.02): The tagcloud is hopefully more useful now that the tags link back to keyword searches in’s online job listings. I was linking keywords for my post on and I thought I might as well do it here too.