How should journalism students present their work to recruiters? Paper or digital?

A student who attended last weekend’s Career Expo put on by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism tells me that some recruiters wouldn’t take students’ paper resumes and clips (“too heavy to carry”) and asked the job-seekers why they were presenting themselves on paper in the digital age. I’m told the students were advised by professors to have printed versions of their work.

Here’s what Gina Boubion of Columbia j-school’s Career Services office tells us:

Yes, we advise students to present recruiters with samples of their work on paper because it seems the vast majority of recruiters and editors in a job fair setting still prefer to receive materials this way.
These days we also recommend that students create a website which includes links to their work. We tell students with multimedia work to bring their laptops and headphones to the job fair so that they can show that work to recruiters.

We give recruiters a choice of taking home a flash drive or paper book of everybody’s resumes. About half wanted paper; the other half wanted a flash drive. There was no big digital divide between them. Some recruiters from legacy companies wanted the flash drive and some all-digital companies preferred the paper book. The beauty of the flash-drive is that it’s searchable, small, and enables students to imbed in their resumes with links to their online portfolios. The beauty of the paper book is it’s easier to read and hard to lose.

Just anecdotally, we cleaned up after the Expo on Saturday and didn’t find any big increase in the number of abandoned clips on recruiter tables. We’ve been doing this for years and invariably one or two packets get left behind and it was the same on Saturday.