Mindy McAdams has a fascinating post on her blog, offering some invaluable information and advice for both student journalists and journalism professors.

Mindy provides survey results from 86 newspaper editors and publishers prior to a journalism job fair.

The findings are interesting and point to the need for diversity in skillsets and the need for students to get experience — through both traditional routes and/or freelancing opportunities:

Would you recommend that college students/recent grads become a freelancer — either as a way to get experience before becoming an employee, or to make a career of it?

  1. Yes: 71 (provides experience/clips; gets your foot in door; proves yourself valuable to decision-makers for hiring)
  2. Hedged response: 11 (difficult to make a living; not as a career; only as last resort)
  3. No: 4 (difficult to make a living; cannot hire experienced writers in entry-level positions)

This set of answers is quite significant, and I hope that journalism professors (and others who advise young journalists) will pay attention. Out of 86 respondents, 71 said YES, they would recommend freelancing. That’s 82.5 percent.