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Getting behind the scenes

So you want to work in the media industry? But do you know that the industry, like the body, depends on a multitude of parts to keep it alive? This section gives you insights into the inner workings of the media industry.


In each issue we will highlight career opportunities in media that go beyond the ‘glamour' of television presenters, radio personalities and journalists. It covers a range of professions in mass and new media, provides advice on training and notes the skill set and criteria for entering the profession.


Runner (broadcasting, film, video)

Job Description


The Runner is an entry-level position within the broadcast and film industry. It is the first rung on the ladder. It is an excellent start for persons looking to break into the broadcast industry because it provides basic on-the-job training. There is no general job description as Runners may be asked to do anything to help ensure that the production process goes smoothly. Runners are usually supervised and instructed by the Assistant Director.


As the name suggests, Runners primarily run errands. Their responsibilities vary from production to production but usually include conveying messages, organising props, looking after cast and crew (making and distributing tea and coffee can be an hourly task), driving, delivering technical equipment, and attending to specific requests from the Producer, Director or Assistant Directors. 


The overall responsibility of Runners is to complete whatever task is assigned to them as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  As even relatively small details may cause interruptions or delays to filming, all their duties must be carried out rapidly, so that the shoot can progress smoothly.


Skills Although Runners' responsibilities may appear basic, some essential skills are required to take on the role successfully.


To be a Runner you must be:



  • Reliable

  • Organised

  • Observant


Entry Requirements


No formal training required


Opportunities


Varies based on progress while on training and formal education


Broadcast Journalist

In the Caribbean the role of broadcast journalists and reporters are synonymous. Broadcast journalists are responsible for the research, writing and editing of material for broadcast in a variety of factual, news and current affairs programmes on television and radio and, increasingly, the Internet.


They generate and research stories, interview people, attend press conferences, gather appropriate images and sounds, write up, edit and package stories and reports for presenting on radio, in studio or on location.


In some cases broadcast journalists may become special correspondents or attachés.


Skills


Regionally, broadcast journalists can also work as presenters.


To be a broadcast journalist you must:



  • be highly motivated and be interested in news and current affairs

  • be able write clearly and concisely, and to speak clearly and distinctly for broadcasting

  • have research, networking and interviewing skills

  • understand relevant technology, to operate recording equipment or cameras if necessary

  • understand ethical standards and the law relating to journalism

  • be able to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines

  • be inquisitive, with an ‘eye for a story' and an interest in people and events

  • be confident, patient, able to face criticism and have a good memory.


Hours of work and Environment


Broadcast journalists need to be flexible about their working hours. They typically work long, irregular hours, including nights, weekends and public holidays.


 


Entry


Most broadcast journalists are graduates, either with a first degree in journalism or in a subject of their choice followed by a diploma in a type of journalism course.


Pay packet


Rates vary and are dependent on an individual's experience, type of employer and organisation's budget.


Training


The University of the West Indies offers a degree in media and communication, with specialisations in Radio or Television Broadcast Journalism. www.uwimona.edu.jm/carimac


 


Opportunities


Senior journalists may be involved in editorial decision making, with responsibility for financial and organisational control and deployment of resources, and progression to management roles may be an option.


Some journalists use their experience to move into related job roles, such as television producing, media management or public relations.


Source: Caribbean Institute of Media & Communication (CARIMAC), University of the West Indies


 




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