Job Categories

Articles

Media Scape

What are the new hot jobs in the media and communication industries? How should jobseekers prepare themselves for work in these rapidly changing sectors? JOBSMART talks to Drs. Marjan de Bruin, Director of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC).

JOBSMART: How is the traditional role of the media practitioner changing and what new skills does this change require?

de Bruin: CARIMAC is preparing students to work in a converged media environment. This generation of media practitioners has to be multi-skilled. They have to be able to create content for all platforms: TV, radio, print, online and mobile. These industries no longer operate in silos, so the strongest professionals understand the technical requirements of each medium and the nuances in storytelling that each medium requires.

CARIMAC also focuses on the communication sector and these industries – social marketing, public relations and advertising – have been turned on their heads by the internet. Professionals in these fields have to be skilled in creating content and communication plans that incorporate the new online media.

JOBSMART: How is CARIMAC changing its curriculum in response to these new opportunities and challenges?

de Bruin: Most people thinking about careers in media tend to focus on journalism, i.e. writing for print and online publications; or presenting for radio and television. CARIMAC trains students for work in these fields, but we also recognize that the rapid growth of the industry means that we need highly skilled professionals to fill some of the less visible but critical roles. We’re putting more emphasis on the management and marketing of media. We’ve expanded into Multimedia to accommodate the strong growth in that sector. As I mentioned, we also focus on communication areas like advertising, public relations and social marketing that cut across multiple industries.

JOBSMART: What kind of person is best suited for a career in media?

de Bruin:The roles in media are so varied – from content creation to production to marketing to management – that there isn’t a single personality type that is best suited. To generalize, highly creative persons with attention to detail and strong command of the spoken and written word tend to fare better.

At CARIMAC, we believe that media training isn’t just for journalists or people who plan to work in the industry. Media and comm. is so pervasive and so integrated into our personal and professional lives that media mastery is an asset in any endeavour. From citizen journalists to subject matter experts who want to promote their expertise to corporations who want to reach their customers to development agencies that need to create communication plans to change behaviour— understanding the way media work and being able to use them effectively are universally applicable skills.

JOBSMART: What’s the best way for a newcomer to get started in the industry?

de Bruin: We strongly support a two pronged approach: education/training plus practical experience. For our students, we incorporate internships that allow them to get hands on experience with real companies into the formal academic programme. For any newcomer, the ideal scenario is to find an opportunity to work in an environment where you can learn, while simultaneously getting training in areas that are new to you or where you need improvement.

Unfortunately, in media there tends to be an “I can do that myself? approach and less emphasis on getting proper training, which leads to the decline of standards across the industry. CARIMAC, CPTC, the Edna Manley College and a number of other institutions offer short courses that can allow newcomers to improve their skills and gauge their interest in the industry. At CARIMAC, we combine practical and technical training with education that builds strength in analytical, conceptual and critical thinking. It’s important for content creators to understand not just how to create content, but what to create and why.

JOBSMART: What are your top five tips for aspiring media professionals?

de Bruin:

1. Learn the industry. What’s the difference in format between IRIE-FM and ZIP-FM? What’s the difference in editorial stance between the Observer and the Gleaner? Aspiring media professionals need to know the ins and outs of all the players in the industry and that they understand and can use industry jargon appropriately. Newcomers also need to understand the duality in media: the balance between commercial interests and social responsibility.

2. Be a critical consumer. Expose yourself to as much media as possible. Read widely. Watch and listen to media from other markets. Paying attention to the strengths and weaknesses in the media you consume enhances your ability to create.

3. Strengthen your skills. Identify areas where you need improvement and find opportunities for training, particularly in language and presentation skills. There are a plethora of training opportunities in the local market as well as online training programmes that allow for more convenient, self-paced learning.

4. Build your portfolio. Regardless of where you are in your career, concentrate on building a body of work that highlights your skills and interests. This is particularly critical for career-changers or those who have no formal education or training in media. Being able to show samples of work you have done will strengthen your career prospects.

5. Network. This industry thrives on personal contacts. Join the relevant professional associations. Attend workshops, seminars and any social events in your area of interest.


For more information on CARIMAC, visit www.uwimona.edu/carimac

Send feedback to: jobsmart@gleanerjm.com
© Copyright Jamaica Gleaner