6 skills to survive and thrive in a broadcast, journalism, & mass communications career
Why build a career in broadcast & journalism?
Are you scared of getting trapped in a boring 9-to-5 job with limited or no flexibility? Do you want your career to be more than just a monthly paycheck? Do you aspire to work in a field that allows you to travel a lot, meet new people, and rub shoulders with the imminent creative personalities across the globe? If the answer to these questions is a resounding yes, then a career in broadcast/journalism/mass media & communications is THE place for you!
We live in a day & age where fast & accurate information reaches us in split-seconds packaged in the most engaging, delightful, & impactful ways. Be it the latest news or current affairs, entertainment, ad campaigns, critical information meant for the masses, we as a society are heavily reliant on how the information-communications ecosystem is designed & delivered, making a career in this field not only exciting, adventurous, & brimming with opportunities but also vital to the progress of our society as a whole.
By choosing to build your career in this field of expertise, a student can expect unending scope and a plethora of career paths to choose from, even if traditionally important subjects such as math, science, coding, etc are not the strong areas for the student.
So what really is required for a student in the broadcast, mass communication, & journalism field? What set of skills & aptitude are needed for anyone to succeed in this field? And can students be trained to hone this skillset? Let’s explore.
What skills will take you ahead in the broadcast & journalism field?
There is a popular saying in the broadcasting industry, “If you want to make it in broadcasting, you can’t be a one-trick pony.” The meaning is self-evident. To be a successful mass media/journalism student & professional one must don a variety of caps, with a keen sense of when to don which one.
With the incredible pace in which this industry is expanding, opening gateways to fresh, hybrid roles, its important to take a step back and analyze what core skills will stick with you and take you far in a career graph as a broadcast, journalism, & mass communication specialist.
#1. Creative storytelling
This goes without saying that each and every student (& professional) of this field must be not just good, but great at storytelling. If you observe closely, you will realize every bit of information reaching you via digital or physical platforms is a unique story in itself.
From the dire condition of farmers to upcoming political rallies to the pandemic to climate change – everything big or small that must reach an audience of millions is a critical fact/data point wrapped around by a story that speaks of its context, relevance, & importance. If there are 10s of news channels or videos conveying the same factset or data point – how will you ensure yours stands out?
By developing creative storytelling techniques that utilize the best possible facets of motion design, print media, graphics, data visualization, sound design, photography and much more. This is a key skill to hone when studying mass media/broadcast journalism.
Taking one more step back, before telling your story to the world, you must know how to extract the right story from the right source. Interviewing is yet another significant skillset every journalism student must develop. It lays the foundation for trustworthy, accurate, and impactful storytelling.
This often involves collecting authoritative information, verification of this information, and uncovering & exploring different subjects & perspectives – all of which are mandatory for helping your story have its own unique point and impact on the audience.
Interviewing is not just about asking questions. It’s about doing rugged end-to-end research beforehand about the subject and asking questions, the answers to which will make a real difference.
#3. Competent investigative skills
This could be as basic as finding general information about the subject you are researching or interviewing or as complex as studying up on the social-cultural-political, & more background of the said subject. Human lives and stories seldom exist in isolation.
Being able to tell the right stories, you must be able to first build the right context around it. Reporting the win of an Olympic medal of an athlete from a metropolitan city is much different from the one belonging to a remote village. Each of their stories is unique and must be, thus, replete with insights that speak about each of their unique backgrounds.
Robust research skills and the ability to peel away layers of misinformation to dig down deep to the real story is one major aspect that separates good journalists from the greats.
#4. Networking skills
Just like no human story exists in isolation, no storyteller (aka, you) exists in isolation too. How much you succeed in this field depends a lot on how great a network of professionals can you create as you progress further.
Remember, as a journalist/mass media/broadcast journalist professional, your job would involve connecting with a diverse set of people, all belonging to different fields – government officials, entrepreneurs, NGO workers, social media influencers, business owners, celebrities, and other professionals who are working alongside you, creating a super complex & dynamic ecosystem.
To navigate through this seamlessly, identifying the best opportunities & collaborations, not to mention the chance to unearth unexplored dimensions, one must build strong networking relationships across the board.
#5. Technical skills
Technology is no longer the responsibility of only the coders or IT professionals or technicians.
With the advent of smartphones, high speed internet, and immensely sophisticated software relevant to broadcasting/mass media/journalism studies – its imperative that one must have a fairly good understanding and grasp of the technical aspects of reporting & storytelling to make your stories more impactful, and also make you as independent as possible when it comes to communicating with the masses.
A good grasp of social media algorithms, analytics, video editing & production, among others will enable you to do more with your time, skills, & resources.
Though technically not a skill, special focus on ethical ways of journalism, broadcasting, and communication is required in this day and age where millions of people across the globe pay the price of information overload, spread of misinformation, and unethical journalism.
Producing stories, reporting news , or any form of communication with the masses is a huge responsibility as this holds the power to bring real change and have a direct impact on people and their perspective. Misinterpretation of evidence, dark journalism, under-reporting, etc pose grave dangers to democracy and civilization as a whole.
Before anything, a student/professional of this field should be a passionate advocate for truth. Anything beyond this that serves for selfish gains is a grave misconduct on the part of professional journalists. Building a sense of ethics and understanding how journalism impacts the society as a life-long practice are few things that will set you apart from the crowd.
Other important skills
In addition to these some other skills important for your growth & success in journalism/broadcast/mass communications are:
- Critical thinking
- Fluency in written & verbal communication
- Surveying & reporting
- Mobile journalism
- Digital journalism
- Social/Cultural/Political awareness
Now that you have the complete list of what skills and values are needed to flourish in this field, you can clearly see that ALL of these skills can be easily learned, honed, & nurtured given the student is passionate to build a career in journalism. With the right training, strong industry-relevant courseware, and adequate time & efforts put forth by the students, it’s not impossible to make it big in this exciting domain.
If you need more information on how things work or how to kickstart your career in this field, don’t hesitate to contact here.
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Hi, I am Garima Nag, Bengaluru-based digital content creator, specializing in B2B marketing communications within the domains of design, technology, sustainability, and healthcare. My work is focused on promoting design-led brands, products, and organizations (both startups and enterprises). I am a voracious reader, an ardent animal lover, a photography enthusiast, and a movie nerd.