How to succeed in the media industry

 The media career field is constantly growing and changing. The way news is delivered today bears very little resemblance to that of 20 years ago. Newspapers are still published and television news is still broadcast on a daily basis, but to shrinking audiences as consumers turn to the internet for breaking news coverage. Television programmes and films don’t show any sign of fading in popularity, but the way in which they’re consumed has changed dramatically.

In the media industry, you can find a career in radio, television, online videos, newspapers, blogs, and more. You can be a writer, producer, editor, director, presenter, actor, camera operator, or craft services provider. In other words, there are many places to find your calling in this fast-paced and exciting field. If you have set your sights on a career in media, you should take note of some ideas on how to succeed in the media industry.

Foundations of success

If you want to successfully pursue a media career, consider getting an education in journalism or communications. Whether you want to write content, deliver content, or be part of disseminating content, these educational paths will give you foundational knowledge of how media works. Graig-Lee Smith was always interested in radio production, but it was his journalism classes that convinced him to be a radio presenter. His radio program, Kompas, has around 2 million listeners.

Working at internships or part-time jobs in media is a great way to define your path. It also can provide ongoing education in technology and other skills that change rapidly in the media field. You can even ask to shadow someone who is doing what you want to do. It’s never too early to start networking in a field where your name needs to be known. Internships can also bolster your resume if you do not have a degree in a related field.

On-the-job success

Once you have landed your dream job, how do you build on that success? If you’re a journalist, use social media to cultivate a following, using platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The Alison O’Riordan Facebook page is an example of how a journalist uses social media to share their work and build a network of followers.

Another way to succeed in media is to keep an open mind about the type of work you want to do. Your dream may be to host the top network sports show, but you won’t start in that job. With the multiple ways stories are presented (print, online, radio, video), you may have to learn several seemingly unrelated skills and combine different abilities to get to that job.

For example, Fiona Bruce worked as a researcher on a TV programme and is now a well-known TV personality. Being a disc jockey may lead you to follow in the footsteps of Hannah Storm, a sportscaster. You may even start in a totally unrelated field like engineering, which was a step on the path of Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo. These women all started a long way from where they are now.

Another key to success in media is the cultivation of relationships with colleagues. Ask questions and soak up the experience of those around you. The media industry is competitive, so you’ll need contacts and ambition, as well as excellent skills, to progress.

While it’s a competitive area, you should endeavour to develop and maintain good working relationships when you’re not striving to gain the edge in terms of covering a breaking story or getting camera time. You never know when you might need a favour from your colleagues, particularly when it comes to references as look to move on, so treat them accordingly.

One final bit of advice is to maintain a healthy work-life balance. While some employers still penalise employees who take time off for family or other reasons, the landscape is changing. Employers realise employees do better work when their personal lives are not causing them stress. Establish boundaries that satisfy your need to succeed and your need to have a life outside your career.

Having a career in media can be exciting and fulfilling. Your success is a sure thing if you keep learning, keep an open mind, and keep building a network of followers and colleagues; your dreams are waiting to be realised.

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