Asia Pacific Media Educator


This article approaches the question of ‘which core attributes should young journalists offer’ from the industry point of view. The answers by senior staff of leading newspapers are used to deduct a list of qualities cadets or young journalists are expected to offer. This study uses interviews at El Pais and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Singapore’s Straits Times and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. Spain’s El Pais and Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung are counted among the ten best papers in the world, but their histories are vastly different, as is their approach to the selection of cadets and beginning journalists. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung only takes graduates, but not those with a journalism degree, whereas El Pais has its own post-graduate journalism school from among whose graduates it selects the best to join its staff. The Straits Times and South China Morning Post have neither a preference for nor a rejection of journalism graduates. While the answers regarding the qualities of beginning journalists show a surprising unanimity, they also point to the fact that some attributes, possibly, can be encouraged but not taught.