The journalism skills gap

News organizations rarely find new hires who have all the skills they’re looking for.  But a survey of employers conducted in the UK finds they’re most concerned about gaps in traditional journalism skills, not the multimedia skills journalists are told they need in a converging world.

The survey conducted by Britain’s National Council for the Training of Journalists, found 71% of employers reported a gap between skills new hires have and those the employers believe they need.  The main core skills on which new hires fall short?

Finding their own stories
Use of language
Writing
Media law
Shorthand
Newsgathering

Employers said new hires aren’t up to snuff in several new skills, as well, but rated these as somewhat less important.

Video: recording and editing
Writing for search
Writing for multiple platforms and 24 hour rolling news
Prioritizing ways to tell a story
Assembling news bulletins and audio/video packages
Using FOIA

Of even less concern to employers: new hires who lacked specific software knowledge, experience in hazardous assignments or skills in photojournalism or radio presentation.  Those were the kinds of things employers apparently were willing to have employees learn on the job.

Do these British results apply here in the US?  I’d say most of them probably do.  But one skill on the traditional list seems a misfit: shorthand.  The only reporter I’ve ever seen take notes in real shorthand (Gregg, I think) is Helen Thomas.  Maybe the survey was measuring the need for better note taking–I’d buy that. But shorthand?  Are they kidding?