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Explore your creative side, get technical behind the camera and make headlines with a career in publishing & media
What is publishing and media?
Jobs in publishing and media are all about creating, producing and delivering content. That's everything from a novel to a TV news report.
The types of content produced can be broadly split into:
Factual: news, biographies, documentaries, and interviews.
Creative / entertainment: fiction, drama, comedy, quiz shows, and competitions.
The main formats people work in are film, TV, radio, online and print. Lots of people specialise in working in more than one format though; for example, many journalists now work across video and online.
It is also common for people in this industry to work as freelancers. Lots of programmes and projects run for a limited time, which gives freelancers the chance to work on varied things and gain lots of experience.
What publishing and media jobs can I do?
Journalists are storytellers who interview sources and track down information in order to tell a story. They tell these stories across loads of different formats, including social media, film documentaries, TV news report, radio stories, long feature articles, blogs, infographics, virtual reality or augmented reality productions, and lots more. They usually work under pressure to tight deadlines, are determined and have excellent communication skills.
TV / film / radio producers manage the practical elements of production, from securing funding (this is more common with films) to planning filming schedules, managing staff, editing scripts and monitoring budgets, as well as more creative tasks like developing programme ideas. Broadcast assistants help them get the show on air in radio.
Camera operators are technical experts who set up, frame and film footage. They can specialise in film or TV as well as working in studios or out and about on location, even underwater.
Sound and lighting technicians are also technical whizzes that set up equipment, program and create effects for film, TV, radio and theatre.
Floor managers coordinate filming on set. They liaise between presenters, actors and directors; rehearse filming plans and make sure equipment and props are safely set up and ready to go.
Editors and sub editors work across journalism, publishing and media production. They are the people in charge of commissioning, re-writing or shaping new content, from revising a novel to giving the go ahead for a news story.
Video editors use software to edit film and audio footage plus add music and effects to create the finished products that we see on screen.
Writers produce all of the creative content we need, from film scripts to novels, to advertising copy.
Social media managers create content for platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to promote a company and talk to its customers.
Runners are general assistants who work in TV, Film and Radio. These are entry-level jobs and many people who work in production start out here. As a runner you will be at the heart of the action, learning the ropes and doing a range of jobs, from assisting people on a shoot to photocopying scripts and making tea for the crew.
Researchers are fact hunters who track down information, experts and interviewees for all kinds of programmes and publications.
Print production planners manage the printing of materials and find ways to improve techniques and speed up the whole process.
Is a career in publishing and media for me?
If you are creative and curious with brilliant communication skills, there are some great career options in publishing and media.
Careers in journalism, TV and radio production are fast paced and often require long hours of work with tight deadlines, so you’ll need to work fast, check your facts and be calm under pressure. If you work in news or live TV especially, you’ll be handling breaking stories and last minute changes, which is exciting but unpredictable.
For most of these jobs you’ll need to be a team player and a problem solver. You’ll get the chance to work with all kinds of people and move from project to project covering a whole range of topics.
If you want to work as a writer or a film editor, you could work with a team or by yourself so you’ll need to be confident working alone and able to motivate yourself.
How can I start a career in publishing and media?
There are plenty of different routes into publishing & media and lots of people choose vocational training and work experience to get there.
Portfolio: One of the most important things is to establish a portfolio or a showreel of work. If you are interested in being a writer, journalist, editor or filmmaker, start looking for work experience and websites or competitions to submit work to.
GCSE: Aim for a 4 or above in English, Maths and IT and consider choosing Media Studies to give you an intro to the industry. If you want to work as a journalist in particular, learning languages is extremely useful too.
A-Level: Key subjects include English Language & Literature, Media Studies, Media Communications and Production, Politics and again more languages.
Vocational: You could also opt for the diploma in creative media, which will help you develop skills in writing, production and design, or an NVQ / BTEC in creative media after GCSE. Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships are available for a range of media roles including junior researchers, runners and broadcast assistants or some Higher Apprenticeships for roles like Production coordinator.
University/ Training: As a writer, it’s all about practise and experience. Taking an English degree or courses in creative writing or screenwriting can help you develop your skills.
To become a journalist you can study journalism at university, study for a NCTJ Diploma in print, photo or magazine journalism after GCSE (you may need to be 18 or above to start your course) or apply for an advanced apprenticeship after A-levels. To study broadcast journalism, there are fewer diplomas on offer, you may need to study for a BA / post grad qualification or apply directly to a company-training programme.
To work in TV or film production, one of the most common routes is to take an entry-level position as a runner and work your way up to become a researcher, floor manager or assistant.
Most radio broadcast assistants now have a Higher National Diploma or a degree in radio production. An NVQ / BTEC in creative media can be a useful first step.
To become a camera operator, sound operator, video editor, or lighting technician, you can take a degree, BTEC, National Certificate or Diploma in Media Production for your chosen area and apply for apprenticeships or assistant roles.
Print production planners usually need a degree or HND in a subject like business studies or print managemen
If you're looking to learn new skills in publishing & media, check out our post on How to Create Your Own Audio and Video Masterpieces.
Extra Credit: There’s no time like the present to get writing, filming and recording. Set up a blog, make short films and vines on your smart phone, set up a podcast with your friends or volunteer for local film projects.
What publishing and media qualifications are available?
If you work in technical roles, you’ll get the chance to pick up some useful transferable skills. For example, many lighting technicians qualify as electricians through their training. If you work in production, you could take courses in finance, law and management.
Did you know these publishing and media facts?
JK Rowling came up with the idea for the Harry Potter series on a delayed train from Manchester to London. Her books have gone on to sell over 450 million copies worldwide and, well, you know the rest…
With over 200 million copies sold to date, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time.
BBC football highlights show Match of the Day has been running for 49 years straight. Current affairs programme Panorama has been running for 60 years.