INDUSTRY GUIDE: An Introduction to Entertainment, Media & Journalism

1. Industry Overview

Interning in the media, entertainment and journalism industry means that you could be involved with news and politics, sports, arts and culture, science or business. Work can cover global, national or local events, entertainment and human interest stories.

Junior roles within these industries are usually based on shadowing, assisting and reporting to superiors such as editors, directors and producers.

Roles within media, entertainment and journalism are becoming increasingly multi-platform, making IT, web and broadcast skills highly valued. Knowledge of a variety of media platforms, both traditional and modern is highly sought after.

As the rise of technology allows more and more of the world to have access to media, entertainment and journalism, the industries are becoming a dominant global force. These sectors have the power to connect and unite people on opposite sides of the globe.

Company types: What do they do? Who do they do it for? And why do they do it

There are various fields within media, entertainment and journalism, including photography, print, television, mobile, digital, video games, the internet, radio and music.

Each field contains different types of companies:

  • Public service: - Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. In much of the world, funding comes from the government, especially via annual fees charged on receivers. The BBC are a good example of a public service company.

  • Independents: – Independent media refers to any form of media, such as radio, television, newspapers or the internet, that is free of influence by government or corporate interests. ‘Independence’ is often used synonymously with alternative media to refer to media that specifically distinguish themselves in relation to mainstream media.

  • Conglomerates: - A conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate group, usually involving a parent company and many subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company. Conglomerates are often large and multinational. 21st Century Fox are an example of a conglomerate.

  • Multinationals: - A multinational corporation (MNC) is a corporation that has its facilities and other assets in at least one country other than its home country. Such companies have offices and/or factories in different countries and usually have a centralized head office where they co-ordinate global management.

2. The Job Market

Market outlook: Who's hiring?

The media, entertainment and journalism industries are currently at a point where existing business models continue to thrive at the same time that new models are emerging. The traditional model still dominates, but movement to an online “over the top” (OTT) model is hastening.

The acceleration is driven by the rapidly growing amount of content available online and the increase in devices such as tablets and smartphones offering high quality viewing experiences. The growth reflects the public’s mounting appetite for content, especially video, anywhere, anytime and on any device. The world of consumers, particularly younger generations, sitting in their living rooms to watch television shows at programmed times is quickly giving way to a market of viewers using multiple devices inside and outside the home to consume content, and at the time and sequence they choose to watch.

The changing dynamic poses challenges but also offers lucrative opportunities within these new types of media. Nevertheless, the appreciation and desire for quality ‘traditional media’ such as film, photography and journalism is still alive and well.

Roles, career paths, earnings and work-life balance: What can I do?

There are a whole host of areas within media that a graduate may be interested in pursuing. Many of these areas require transferable skills that can easily be applied to more than one aspect of the wider industry.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Animator: Animation is the art of making images that appear to come to life on screen. It features in all kinds of media, from feature films to commercials, pop videos, computer games and websites.

  • Audio visual technician: The audio visual technician operates equipment to create sound and visual images.

  • News editor: A news editor is someone who not only edits recordings for newscasts, but may also be required to monitor and record network feeds, maintain archives, and coordinate feeds from bureaus and live trucks. This person needs a good grasp of editing techniques and should be able to edit video on tape-to-tape systems or non-linear setups.

  • Post producer: A post producer is the integral person for film and TV that does the actual editing, dubbing, and other post production duties when the shooting and taping are complete.

  • Producer: A producer sets the situation for the production of a television or radio show, documentary, music video or movie. A producer initiates, coordinates, supervises and controls all aspects of a production, from fundraising and hiring key personnel, to arranging for distributors. The producer sees the project through to the end, from development to completion.

  • Researcher: Researchers originate or develop ideas, drawing on their knowledge and understanding of industry requirements, and present their findings to decision makers. They are also fact checkers and 'brief' writers for various stages of a production.

  • Journalist: A person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news for broadcast on radio or television.

Individual tasks depend on your role within media, entertainment and journalism but may include:

  • Arranging and hosting client meetings
  • Networking and building contacts
  • Seeking out and researching stories and ideas via company contacts, press releases and other media
  • Attending a range of events, such as PR nights, previews, premieres, sporting events, photoshoots, press conferences etc.
  • Working closely with other departments such as news teams, photographers, editors, production, casting, researchers etc.
  • Note taking and information gathering
  • Acting on feedback to produce finished products
  • Creating and uploading content for your publication’s website
  • Live online reporting or real-time blogging when covering important events - a growing area of work


Salaries can range from $35 - $100K+ depending on position, experience and specific company. The US National Average industry salary is $36k

Work/life balance

Work/life balance: 3/5

Difficult to generalize, work/life balance depends on a variety of factors. In a rigid media career, this may depend on client demands but across entertainment and journalism you can expect more flexibility.

Academic, hard and soft skills: What do I need?

In a field as competitive as the media, entertainment and journalism sector, a strong resume is something that sets candidates apart. Relevant work experience and extra-curricular activities are highly recommended.

You will need to exhibit:

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Storytelling abilities
  • A keen interest in news, current affairs, business, popular culture and people
  • Good organization skills and the ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines
  • An ability to grasp complex issues quickly
  • Resilience, determination, flexibility, persistence, motivation and integrity
  • Specialist technical skills within your field of choice are a huge bonus
  • Social media and blogging know-how are increasingly becoming must-haves in order to succeed in these modern industries
  • A portfolio of work with examples of your creative skills is an excellent way to enhance your profile

3. Industry Knowledge: Things you should know

Terminology: What terms, phrases and concepts should I know?

  • Censorship - The practice of suppressing a text or part of a text that is considered objectionable according to certain standards.

  • Connotation - A description of value, meaning or ideology associated with a media text that is added to the text by the audience.

  • Construct or Construction - The process by which a media text is shaped and given meaning through a process that is subject to a variety of decisions and is designed to keep the audience interested in the text.

  • Consumers - The audience for whom a commercial media text is constructed and who responds to the text with commercial activity.

  • Convergence - The merging of previously separate communication industries such as publishing, computers, film, music and broadcasting, made possible by advances in technology.

  • Critical Autonomy - The process by which a member of the audience is able to read a media text in a way other than the preferred reading. Also used to describe the ability of media literacy students to deconstruct texts outside the classroom.

  • Demographics - Measurable characteristics of media consumers such as age, gender, race, education and income level.

  • Denotation - A description of a media text indicating its common sense, obvious meaning.

  • Flak - An organized attempt to influence media content, which can take the form of letters, phone calls, petitions, lawsuits and legislation.

  • Genre - A category of media texts characterized by a particular style, form or content.

  • Hegemony - Dominant groups persuade subordinate groups that the dominant ideology is in their own best interests. The media's function in this process is to encourage maintenance of the status quo.

  • Intertextuality - A media text makes reference to another text that, on the surface, appears to be unique and distinct.

  • Medium - The singular form of media, the term usually describes individual forms such as radio, television, film, etc.

  • Narrative - How the plot or story is told. In a media text, narrative is the coherent sequencing of events across time and space.

  • Production values - Describes the quality of a media production proportional to the money and technology expended on the text.

  • Propaganda - Any media text whose primary purpose is to openly persuade an audience of the validity of a particular point of view.

  • Psychographics - A more sophisticated form of demographics that includes information about the psychological and sociological characteristics of media consumers such as attitudes, values, emotional responses and ideological beliefs.

  • Representation - The process by which a constructed media text stands for, symbolizes, describes or represents people, places, events or ideas that are real and have an existence outside the text.

  • Synergy - The combination of two separate media texts or products that share similar characteristics so that one helps market the other.

  • Transparency - The quality of a media text by which it appears to be natural rather than constructed.

  • Vertical integration - The process by which a media company acquires another elsewhere in the production process.

Hot topics: What topical happenings should I be able to discuss?

Digital: The hottest topic within media, entertainment and journalism is digital, how it is consumed and how to use it to your advantage. Consumers want more flexibility and freedom in when and how they consume. They don’t want schedules, they want it on-demand. It’s also increasingly clear that they want it mobile too. Consumers are consistently demonstrating that they will migrate to those offerings that combine an outstanding user experience – attractive content assortment, great discovery, social community – with an intuitive interface offering increased personalization and access across devices.

The Death of Reality TV: Audiences are seemingly becoming tired with the recycling of worn-out reality show television formats as ratings dwindle to a shadow of the previous highs. At the climax of its initial season, CBS’s Survivor drew an audience of over 50 million. That number had plunged to 9.7 million by the end of its last season. Similar numbers are true for other reality powerhouse American Idol.
As on-demand services such as Netflix, the networks of choice for the millennial generation, show no signs of investing in their own reality shows, is this the death of reality TV?

Turning to Social Media for News Updates: Both journalists and audiences are turning to social media to distribute and consume news. People no longer need to wait until the 6 o’clock news for information on global events, but can find by the minute updates on their social media feeds.
Whilst convenient, social media has resulted in everybody with a laptop or mobile phone having the potential to be a reporter, presenter, journalist or photographer, thus making the search for true journalism problematic.

4. Resume & Interview Preparation: Things you should do

Resume content: How can I make my skills, experiences and interests count?

Joining various media based clubs are an excellent way of showing that you are passionate about your chosen industry. Think film and television clubs, student radio, journalism societies and writing for the student newspaper.

Examples of your writing and creative skills are also appealing for potential employers. If you have a video project or examples of published journalism then show it off! Online portfolios are the perfect way of showing that you are actively involved in furthering your skills and pursuing a career in this sector.

Sharing content and engaging in relevant debate on social media is not only a good way to keep up to date with industry happenings but also another avenue to publicly show that you are serious about your passions.

Interview preparation: What interview questions do I need to master?

  • Tell us about a production that you admire and why?
  • In what ways have you utilized research skills to contribute to an article or production?
  • Let us know about a creative process that you have been a part of – do you have any examples of the finished product?
  • What area of media are you most interested in and why?
  • How do your skills, experiences and aspirations match the ethos of our company?
  • How can you take our company in to the modern era of media?

Must read blogs and websites: - What the website name may lack in imagination, the site certainly makes up for in journalistic news, features, advice and other related content.

Newsonomics - Unrivalled insight in to the world of journalism and the industry’s inner workings.

The Wrap- Your go to resource for up-to-date coverage of film, TV, music and pop-culture news.

Vulture- As its tagline suggests, this is the place to devour all things culture.

Media Shift- Comprehensive commentary on the changing face of the media industry and how the digital shift is impacting on society.

Must watch:

Spotlight (2015) - Best Picture winner at the Oscars, Spotlight tells the jaw-dropping story of reporters at the Boston Globe who uncovered the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the city.

Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011) - This documentary profiles a year in the life of the New York Times media desk, and proves that truth is stranger than fiction. Director Andrew Rossi filmed the Times media desk throughout 2010, witnessing the titanic change brought on by Wikileaks and the iPad, illustrating how far global events can influence the industry.

The Artist (2011) - The 2011 Academy Award-winner is a love letter to Hollywood’s golden age of cinema, but also a look at the fear of artistic irrelevance.

My week with Marilyn (2011) - A movie that looks at the pressures, facades and trappings of Hollywood and the film industry.