CHOOSING A CAREER / SEP. 03, 2014
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How to Become a Media Researcher

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Media researchers play a crucial role in the media and entertainment industry. They help broadcasting firms, print organizations and digital news agencies to find the information they need to give their audience. If you are very creative and love to research, this could be the job for you.

The Work

The specific duties of media researchers vary by workplace. In TV and radio stations, they focus on gathering factual information for documentaries and arranging interviews with program contributors. In print and digital news organizations, media researchers conduct surveys to establish the type of content people want to read.

Despite the work setting, media researchers have the following common duties;

  • Getting permission to use copyrighted information
  • Discussing ideas with producers, editors or journalists
  • Keeping accurate records of media materials
  • Identifying suitable locations for program shoots or holding interviews with contributors
  • Maintaining an up to date list of contact information for government officials, industry leaders, celebrities and other persons of interest
  • Attending conferences, events and seminars to stay abreast of happenings in various industries

It is important to note that in some film productions, media researchers may help to organize cast, as well as operate production equipment.

Work Environment

Media researchers work in an office environment where they spend most of the time making phone calls and browsing the internet. Work travels are also common because they need to attend several events.

Like most professionals in the media and entertainment industry, media researchers have irregular working hours. Although their day usually begins at 8am, there is no telling when it would end. They might work late into the evening researching some information, working on a production or attending an event.

Salary

Media researchers in various settings earn different salaries. While junior researchers earn about £415 a week, experienced researchers can earn up to £650 a week. Given these figures, prospective media researchers can expect to earn between £19,920 and £31,200, annually.

Researchers in the broadcast sector can visit the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union to find information on current pay guidelines.

Entry Requirements

Though the media industry is increasingly becoming competitive, you can get a job without having a degree. Having research experience and possessing strong creative skills can be sufficient to secure you a gig.

Before finding a job, you can improve your skills by;

  • Planning and producing student films
  • Working for community radio, student publications or local print media
  • Creating research reports for businesses and institutions
  • Securing unpaid work placements in media houses.

For more information on work placements visit;

Some employers may, however, prefer media researchers with a bachelor or master’s degree in a specific field. For example, a production company preparing a wildlife documentary may prefer researchers with a degree in biology, while a TV station running a political program may require researchers with a degree in political science.

Alternatively, you can secure a junior job in a media firm and slowly work your way to media research. For instance, you can start as a production assistant or an administrator, gain more experience and apply for a promotion to a media research position.

Training and Development

To advance your knowledge and skills, you can pursue short media courses offered by the following institutions;

Also, joining the Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television gives you the opportunity to attend conferences, which you can use as a platform to network with other media researchers.

Skills, Interests and Abilities

To be a successful media researcher, you should have the following qualities;

  • Excellent research skills
  • A high degree of creativity
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • A flexible approach to work
  • Ability to work well as an individual and in a team
  • Patience and determination

Employment Opportunities

Although many media researchers work on a freelance basis, you can find full-time employment opportunities in the following places;

  • TV and radio stations
  • Film production companies
  • Advertising agencies
  • Public relations firms

With vast work experience, you could secure a research job in a large production company or move into writing. Other experienced media researchers move on to become film producers and directors.

Even though the National Careers Service forecasts that the public and media industry will create about 256,000 between 2014 and 2020, competition for work is strong.

To enhance your chances of employment, you should aim to network and maintain contact with other professionals in the industry. This will help you get word on various job openings.

The following websites can come in handy when hunting for a job;

Finally, pursuing a career in media research helps you influence the quality of information people receive. By performing extensive research, you can plan and produce wonderful, educative and entertaining programs.

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