Mass and broadcast communications are focused on the delivery of timely and engaging news information to the general public. Professionals in the broadcast communication field often work for television, radio and cable companies, and they need at least a bachelor's degree with relevant experience to compete for these in-demand jobs. Read this article to learn more about working in this field.
Mass communication is a field of study concerned with the dissemination of news, information, entertainment and advertising through various media platforms, including newspapers, magazines, new media, television, film and radio. Broadcast communication is a track within mass communication that pertains to video and audio content for use on a variety of platforms. Broadcasting companies create original content or buy the rights to broadcast local and national content, such as news, music programs, talk shows, movies and advertisements. Excellent speaking and writing skills, as well as familiarity with the workings of media organizations, are a must to compete for these highly coveted jobs.
A variety of careers are available in broadcasting and mass communications both on-air and behind the scenes. Broadcasting careers are often available in the areas of production, news and technical operations. Job titles can include broadcast journalist, program producer, videographer, camera operator and production assistant. Competition for high-paying broadcasting jobs in large metropolitan markets can be fierce, and many entry-level professionals start out working for smaller stations. A graduate degree in the field can offer better opportunities for advancement into supervisory or directorial positions within media companies or for academic careers in teaching and research.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that jobs in the broadcasting industry are expected to rise by seven percent during the period from 2008 to 2018, which is less than the rate for all industries combined (www.bls.gov). In addition, the BLS projects jobs for news analysts, reporters and correspondents to decline by six percent over this same period, largely due to industry consolidation. As of May 2010, broadcast news analysts earned a median annual salary of $54,140, film and video editors earned a median annual salary of $50,930 and the median annual wage for media and communication workers in general was $43,090, per the BLS.
A combination of formal educational training and relevant work experience is generally needed to begin a career in this in-demand field. Mass communication and broadcasting can be studied at the associate's to doctoral degree levels. Because competition is so fierce for occupations in these fields, you'll likely need at least a bachelor's degree with a major in mass communications, broadcasting, journalism or English. More specific degree options include a bachelor's degree in digital broadcasting and a master's degree in broadcast journalism. Broadcast communication schools most commonly offer degrees at the undergraduate and master's levels, while doctoral degree programs are generally designed for academic and research careers.
Major broadcasting courses generally cover topics in broadcast journalism, studio production, video editing and broadcast news. According to the BLS, many employers do not provide on-the-job training; therefore, choosing a program that offers hands-on experience through internships or applied coursework is important. To gain further experience and gain a competitive edge in the job market, you may consider working for the campus newspaper or radio station while taking classes. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications accredits journalism and mass communication programs in the United States. Ongoing professional development is available through such organizations as the National Association of Broadcasters.