Media and Journalism

1. What is the culture of the Journalism Industry?
2. What are the skills necessary for a successful career in Media Journalism?
3. What is Broadcast Media?
4. What is Print Media?
5. What Media and Journalism resources are available?

1. What is the culture of the Journalism Industry?

Headlines and deadlines—that’s the field of journalism. Writing under the gun is the essence of the job, and the culture of the industry reflects the urgency of the journalist’s task. Here are some of the most prominent characteristics of the culture of journalism:

Competition

There is a strong tradition of competition among journalists and publications. As a journalist you’ll always be on the lookout for a scoop—an important story that you and your paper report first. And just about the worst thing that can happen to a reporter is to get scooped—to find out that your competitor beat you to the big story of the day.

Hectic Pace

Journalism is more than a nine-to-five job—it’s a way of life. Newspapers must cover the news beyond regular office hours, so journalists should expect to be awakened at 3 a.m. to cover a breaking story. (Keep in mind that the journalist may then return to the newsroom with just 15 minutes left to write the story and be expected to do it all over again the next day.)

Stress on the Job

It can definitely be frustrating putting in many “extra” hours for a relatively small      paycheck. (Some newspapers do offer over-time pay.) Deadline pressure and erratic hours may be less extreme at magazine publications.

Curiosity and Aggression

Most journalists tend to have a strong streak of curiosity in their personalities, but it’s aggressiveness that gets them the stories they go after.

Tough Crowd

The field of broadcast journalism is famous for its big egos and difficult personalities, especially in the higher ranks. Newsrooms attract aggressive, opinionated, ambitious people. While the traits may help reporters survive, they don’t make for the most pleasant employee relations. As one insider states, “You need to be thick-skinned. If you’re covering breaking news and something goes wrong, it can be complete chaos.”

Abridged and reprinted with permission from Experience.com

2. What are the skills necessary for a successful career in Media Journalism?

  • Dedication
  • Initiative
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Patience
  • Curiosity
  • Competitive spirit
  • Flexibility
  • Knowledge of current events
  • Creativity
  • Ability to research
  • Writing —This is a key component for anyone in the field and should be developed over a lifetime. Starting early is key, and gaining continual experience and practice is crucial.

3.What is Broadcast Media?

Broadcast Networks: Networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox operate by paying local stations, called affiliates, to carry both network-produced shows and programs purchased from other sources. Most networks produce a variety of news programs, including daily national news shows, morning talk/news programs, such as The Today Show, and news-magazine shows, such as Dateline. Networks employ thousands of newspeople, but they seldom hire anyone without some type of television experience.

Cable Operations: The growth of cable news and information networks such as CNN and FOX News Network has created more jobs for broadcast journalists. Because they provide 24-hour news programming, these stations have a need for more journalists and offer more entry-level opportunities than the networks. In fact, rumor has it that CNN hires more entry-level people than any other broadcast news operation in the world. On a community level, a new trend toward local,   24-hour cable news stations is opening up even more opportunities for aspiring broadcast journalists. Don’t forget your local community access channel; many of these stations also produce news programs, although the paid news staffs tend to number as few as one or two people.

4. What is Print Media?

Magazines: Magazines can be organized into two groups. The first and larger group is made up of consumer magazines, many of which address a niche market related to hobbies and leisure activities (Tennis, Vegetarian Times), or offer a variety of news, information, and entertainment (The New Yorker, Esquire). The “big three” news magazines, Time, Newsweek, and US News & World Report, are influential consumer magazines that have large circulations and employ large staffs. Niche consumer magazines usually have small staffs and rely on freelance writers for much of their content.

The second group is trade or professional magazines, which contain material of interest to certain industries or professions. For example, Editor & Publisher helps newspaper professionals stay abreast of events and trends affecting their business.

Deadlines tend to fall farther apart in the magazine industry than at many newspapers, so the pace can be a little less break-neck. “Working at a news magazine is quite different from working at a newspaper. There is not all that much room in the publication for the actual stories—the magazine comes out just once a week and a lot of space is taken up by advertising; many of the articles have to be very brief. This intensifies competition among the writers, who jockey to get their stories in the magazine with their bylines in the largest font possible. The atmosphere is also different in that it’s a lot more corporate than at most newspapers—the organization is very hierarchical, there’s no newsroom (we work in cubicles and offices), and the men wear ties to work every day,” says a reporter at Newsweek.

Newspapers: The largest employer of journalists is the newspaper industry. There are about 6,700 newspapers published in the United States today (1,700 daily and 5,000 weekly)—even the smallest towns in the nation are covered by a local or regional paper. Although they compete with other media—radio, television, and the Internet—newspapers are still an essential source of news and information for the public. Broadcast and electronic media cannot provide the in-depth news coverage and analysis that news-papers offer. Most large metropolitan newspapers appear daily. Some papers such as USA Today and the Wall Street Journal are national in scope and, therefore, skip over much regional news. Smaller suburban and local papers, which are usually published once a week, concentrate on news that affects their immediate areas.

5. What Media and Journalism resources are available?

National Job Bank for Broadcasters
National Association of Broadcasters
National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
The Associated Press
Broadcast Employment Services
American Copy Editors Society
Shoptalk: TV Business Newsletter
MediaLine
Media Bistro
Journalism Jobs
Poynter Institute
American Society of Magazine Editors
Society of Professional Journalists
Association of Magazine Media
Editor & Publisher
American Society of News Editors
Media Jobs
The Write Jobs
National Writers Union
Journalism Job Postings
Boston Journalism Internships
Job and Internship Listings
Agency Pimp