Upon completing a degree in media and communications you will have gained a variety of skills. Your particular degree could have focused on practical experience or more theoretical areas, but in general, you can expect to gain experience and abilities in the following areas.
– effective research
– critical analysis
– awareness of the cultural aspects of creative industries
– awareness of the commercial aspects of creative industries
– leadership and group-working
– meeting of deadlines and following briefs
– communication of information
– technical skills in audio-visual technology, writing, and electronic media.
These skills will allow you to work in a variety of industries outside of the media industry including advertising, market research, and public relations.
Your degree, such as a postgraduate MA communications course, will also prepare you for beginning a career within the media. Many of these roles are highly competitive, but often there are various options available to you that will allow you to work your way up from an entry-level position. Your degree will give you a start in the process, but many of these careers will also require you to have both work experience and a strong portfolio of project or volunteer work in order to enter the field.
Researcher for Radio or Television
Researchers are a vital element of the behind-the-scenes aspects of radio and television shows. They spend their days sourcing the contacts, contributors and information that are covered in the show as well as fact-checking and performing other administrative duties. Researchers may also contribute programme ideas. This can be a graduate-entry role and can allow you to develop industry knowledge and contacts that can be used to transition to a broadcast or producing career.
Producer for Television, Film or Radio
Working as a producer allows you to have a profound impact on the stories and entertainment that are brought to the public. Producers are often those who have the initial inspiration for a project, or are the decision-makers who carry others’ ideas to completion. In addition to their supervisory role they can have marketing and advertising responsibilities and a high level of interaction with directors. This is a senior position that requires a significant level of industry knowledge and can often be achieved by progressing from a role as a researcher, journalist or other media role.
Presenter for Television or Radio
This position entails the responsibility of appearing on camera or on the radio. It is probably the most public career option available to media and communications graduates and can lead to you becoming a household name. You will likely require a show reel or portfolio of previous work, and any internships or work experience will be extremely valuable. If you wish to enter this area of work you should take advantage of any and all opportunities to take on similar roles during your degree, such as hosting a student radio show or working on student films.
Journalists generate the news and stories that are found in newspapers, magazines, and online. You will need to identify, research and write compelling stories, often to short deadlines. Your ‘clips’ or samples of published work will be vital in any job applications, so you must be sure to take advantage of any opportunities for publication. There are a variety of different specialities including criminal reporting, opinion, travel writing and more. You may begin your career as a freelance writer, rather than working for a specific publication. Indeed, many journalists work as freelancers for the duration of their careers. You can begin your career by pitching story ideas or completed articles on ‘spec’ to various publications – you can even begin this process while studying. Work experience at a newspaper or magazine can be an ideal way to gain mentors, advice and experience in crafting publishable stories.
If you wish to make a career in the media industry then the most important factors are your experience, your portfolio and your focus during your studies. Early identification of your goals allows you to maximise the benefits you can gain from your course, such as choosing appropriate modules, applying for internships and work experience, and developing a portfolio of work that shows your skills.