Communications and Media Studies

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Communications and Media Studies

If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is there to capture the event on camera, has it actually happened? Of course it has, but what we are getting at here is the fact that the media in each of its many forms has a tremendous impact on all of our lives.
Many students decide they would like to embark on a career in media, whether in front of or behind the camera, and a large number of courses have been developed in recent years to give them the skills and experience required.
It is not easy to make a successful career in the media. As well as talent and imagination, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to forge a professional career in the upper echelons of the TV or film world. However, if you think you have what it takes, the rewards – money, fame, and creative fulfillment – are worth the effort.

Education

School leavers with an interest in media or communication studies have a number of CAO options, including both higher certificates and degrees. Course titles to choose from include Communication Studies, Media Studies, Communications with Multimedia, Media & Cultural Studies, Film & Media, Media Arts, Applied Cultural Studies, and Journalism & Visual Media, among others. The CAO points required range from about 200 to over 450. There are also a large number of PLC course options available.

The subjects vary from course to course; however, most include a mixture of practical training and experience in TV, Film, Radio, Photography, Multimedia, Web-design, or Creative Writing, as well as theoretical humanities subjects such as Sociology, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Economics, Politics, and Philosophy.
Project work forms a large part of most courses – students typically work in groups to produce radio documentaries, live TV shows, short films or web-based projects, and students gain experience using technology such as digital cameras, sound desks, web-design software and film cameras. Some courses also organise work placements for students with local production companies or TV/radio stations.

Options after Qualification

Graduates of Communications and Media Studies courses are prepared for work in a variety of creative careers, including radio, TV, film, journalism, creative writing, corporate video, multimedia, e-business, graphic design, advertising, marketing, PR, publishing and many more.
As Communications and Media Studies offer a broad education, many students decide to go on to postgraduate study and specialise in one particular area.

The Work

Entry-level positions in TV and radio are often on a work experience or internship level. Even graduates with degrees start off making tea and labelling tapes in a production company or post-production house. You have to show initiative to move up to more senior positions.
Researchers and production assistants on a TV or radio show have a wide variety of different responsibilities, including booking crew for shoots (cameramen, key grips, and so on), researching guests’ backgrounds, calculating budgets, making transport and accommodation arrangements, and suggesting creative ideas.
The producer is the head of the production team. Producers have an idea and put together a proposal for the programme, hire the crew and talent, receive a commission from a TV station or secure funding from other backers, and ensure the project comes in on-budget and on time.
The director is responsible for the finished content that appears on screen. Directors plan visuals with the camera operators, deal with guests, interviewees, or actors to help them perform in front of the camera, write scripts for voice-overs or montages and sit with the editor to put the finished project together.

Personal Qualities & Work Environment

People interested in communications or media studies need a combination of creativity, dedication, and common sense to get the top. Teamwork and communication skills are highly valued, as are practical and technical abilities.
Producers, researchers, directors, and other media professionals can either work full-time for TV, a radio station or a production house, or they can work freelance on a contract basis. Freelance workers can often have very busy periods interspersed with quiet times. Working hours can be long, and shoots can be stressful.

The Money

While Tom Cruise might make $50m a movie, the media industry doesn’t pay new entrants quite as well, with starting salaries (after time spent on work experience) at around €20, 000 a year. However, if you are successful, salaries can rise quickly – established radio presenters can earn between €30, 000 and €65, 000.

Jargon

Shoot: The recording of an event on camera
Commission: When a broadcaster agrees to show a programme and provides the financial backing
Key Grip: A member of a crew who adjusts sets, lighting, and props, and sometimes assists the camera operator

Job Titles

Researcher

Producer

Director

Editor

Designer

Journalist

Further Resources

RTE

Donnybrook

Dublin 4

Phone: 01 208 3111

Web: www.rte.ie

Email: info@rte. ie

Irish Film & Television Network

Web: www. iftn. ie


Whichcollege.ie

Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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