Newest Review: ... Obviously with TV you have the advantage of pictures so the style of writing does differ between the two mediums. You also get tau... more
Journalism in general
Journalism in general
Member Name: carlmcq
Journalism in general
Advantages: No day is the same
Disadvantages: More money to be made elsewhere
"Journalism in general"? An interesting subject, especially as it's under the 'study courses' sub-heading...so here I'll give you a bit of an insight into both the studying side of things, and the professional side of things. You lucky, lucky people.
I studied a Broadcast Journalism degree that was Broadcast Journalism Training Council accredited. This is most important as this defines a degree that teaches the exact things you need for a career in journalism and is recognised by a professional body. Many job vacancies will state applicants will need a "BJTC-accredited degree" so when you're stepping into the degree application process, make sure those four letters are present.
My degree taught me a host of things, from learning how to operate a number of different cameras to writing for radio. To explain this further, this means how to write 'copy' (as the journalists call it) for a radio audience - being concise but informative and explaining everything that's important, while all at the same time sounding interesting. The same thing applies for television. Obviously with TV you have the advantage of pictures so the style of writing does differ between the two mediums. You also get taught the skills on how to create TV and radio packages. These will include interviews, often vox-pops from members of the public and as I'm sure you're all aware, explain a news stories or describe a case study in a journalistic way.
But was it all worthwhile?? Well, I do now work for a talk-radio station, which means the majority of the output is journalism-based so I'm required to have an awareness of things such as media law - this is essential for knowing for can and can't be broadcast. This includes things such as defamatory statements, contempt of court, avoiding bias during an election, and copyright laws for example. It's quite a considerable area to know thoroughly, but you're university course should teach you the ins and outs.
As a career, many people see journalism as a risky business, but one that can ultimately be glamorous. The vast majority of journalists will never will a glamorous lifestyle though. Most will just read the news or report for local tin-pot radio stations (something which I despise, despite many people's wish to save and maintain local radio). It can often be boring and the news stories you're reporting will have little impact in the grand scheme of things. Of course, all journalists don't want to be doing that for their entire career and will look to progress. But as you can imagine only a few will ever get to report from war-torn countries, or be there to report on the moments that people 'remember where they were' when it happened. It's a competitive business...and unfortunately it's also a career path where it helps on 'who you know, not what you know'.
The pay is never great either. Working for local tin-pot radio stations around the country will pay no better than working in your local supermarket. This may seem staggering as journalists are an important commodity to keep people informed, but unfortunately there's no money in journalism because quite simply you cannot sponsor the news. It's against broadcasting laws for the news to be 'sponsored' or 'in association' with a certain brand, as it would be biased, especially if a news story broke about that company or brand for example. It's fine to sponsor travel, weather and sport, but never the main news bulletin. This results in less money circulate around the industry and therefore the wages cannot be as lucrative as other career paths.
I remember one of the reasons I wanted to take this career path as a youngster was getting home from school one day and being glued to the TV screen as a massive news story broke and thinking how cool it would be to be the person relaying this message to the mass public. This massive news story happened to be 9/11, so it's fair to say there'll rarely ever be a bigger news story than that again. But the ability to inform people about stories that affect millions is a skill to be able to do it well.
Of course, if you're good enough and committed enough then one day you'll reach a level that you're happy with, but many will give up on that goal. A journalism degree can stretch to other fields such as marketing and PR as you need exceptional communication skills and the ability to make something concise but deliver the message to the best possible degree. I'm still young so time is on my side...but I'm also after a bit more money, and as you can imagine, marketing and PR are far more lucrative!
Summary: An insight into getting into this career, and what it entails...
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