There are some common questions people normally ask when you mention you’re taking a course in journalism: So you want to become a TV presenter? So we’ll be seeing you on TV? Strange enough no one ever mentions radio. It’s always TV this TV that.
Then the other questions that follow afterward leave you hanging your head with a very huge sigh.
I was attending a family gathering some time back and a relative just came to catch up with me.
Relative: So how is school?
Me: Well, finally my graduation is just around the corner?
Relative: Are there any jobs for that course you do really?
Me: Yes of course, ple….
Relative: Like really how many media stations are there? Plus the same people I see on TV have been there over the years we rarely see new faces, how do you expect to be picked?
Me: But, w…
Relative: can you actually speak fluently on TV?
Ok, let’s just say the conversation ended up with me been quiet all through as I listened to this relative’s opinion. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have had this conversation with different people.
Of course, even after a 2-page A4 explanation I always have to begin again the next time we meet. If I was the giving up type I’d have done so on the very first semester.
Because immediately you mention you want to pursue a career in journalism even the facial expressions can make you think twice. Let’s not even talk about the people who think that students who pursue journalism are average performers.
My graduation is now three months away and I remember that feeling you have when not really knowing what to fully expect but the heart wants what it wants. So as you pick that pen or fill that form online with a heading “BA in Journalism and Media Studies” here are a few things we need to know.
a) Studying journalism doesn’t mean you are limited to working in a media house.
Yes, people, you found the big secret. This goes out to even all those people who ask “so you want to become a TV presenter?”
As a journalist I can work in any communication office. The skills and knowledge you get in class steer you to becoming a communication professional with emphasis on media skills such as photography & videography, writing & editing, web development plus much more.
I have been to class with people who don’t even want to step into a media house after one experience or it’s just not something they aren’t interested in. It happens a lot. What of the lot that comes in with the aim of majoring in broadcast just to find themselves more interested in PR and Development communication majors.
b) Being a TV anchor /presenter is not the only job in a media house
We could create a really huge billboard with those very few words. It’s simple we all have different interests some people don’t even like being on screen others just want to be on radio. There’s an endless list of positions in a media house: producer, creative, sound engineer, camera person, reporter and the list is endless.
c) The media industry is really small
I have been to a number of events and it has been so obvious that I always meet the same people in those events. And these people don’t only come from media houses there are others who come from organizations affiliated with the media like communication organizations and NGO’s.
d) You don’t have to wait to graduate to be a media practitioner
This is something I wish I knew earlier because these associations have seminars and activities that give you a better idea of what you should expect on the ground. Like I mentioned it’s a small industry so they allow you to network. Some even give scholarships and support to members. Just to be fair there is normally a special registration fee for students with the Media
e) Being more active in school comes in really handy
Ok, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea but being a class rep or participating more in school activities and having conversations with your lecturers comes in very handy. This is because this way you get to know about internships and job opportunities first hand. Remember it’s a small industry so word spreads fast and people use referrals.
f) Practice makes perfect
In the communication industry practice does really make perfect. So you’re normally urged to practice the skills you have often; from photography, blogging, video editing, writing. Then let the world know about it. Because when job searching you need to show what you can do like literally so have some evidence. It also allows you to be self-employed.
By Evon Mercy Vala