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What does a career in media research involve?

As a researcher in the media, your job would be to find the information, people and places for television, radio and film productions.

You might be responsible for anything from researching factual information for documentaries to finding studio audiences and guests for entertainment shows.

In some jobs, you might be involved in developing and researching ideas for new programmes.

Your tasks could include discussing programme ideas and research needs with producers and directors; finding and checking information; using sources such as the internet; libraries and museums; and searching media libraries and archives for music, photographs and film footage.

You may also be involved in writing briefs for presenters, or briefing scriptwriters, checking copyright and arranging permission to use archive material, a well as finding and interviewing programme contributors and scouting for locations.

Researching and writing content for websites linked to TV programmes and films may also be a part of your role.

For some jobs on factual programmes, you may also operate digital video (DV) cameras or editing equipment.

What personal skills do you need?

You need to be creative with good written and spoken communication skills and excellent research skills, as well as being organised with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail. You should be able to work well on your own and as part of a team, using your own initiative. Patience and determination are a must, as is the ability tomulti-task ability. You need to be flexible and be able to work under pressure and meet strict deadlines.

What training do you need?

Researchers come from a variety of backgrounds and experience. For instance, you might be employed on a factual programme because you have specialist qualifications and knowledge of its particular subject.

Or, you might start as a runner or production assistant in the television industry, and work your way up to researcher.

You could also move into programme research if you have a background as a journalist or researcher in a non-media field such as social or political research.

You may find it helpful to take a course in media production, and industry-endorsed courses such as BTEC HNDs, degrees, postgraduate courses and the new City & Guilds (7502) Certificate for Audiovisual Industries Induction.

You may find further development opportunities with television broadcasters and regional screen agencies, which sometimes offer training programmes for new entrants and established researchers.

As an experienced researcher, you could also take short courses in various business and production skills, which are run by film schools, private training companies and organisations such as the Producers' Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT).

What is the salary?

Freelance researchers are usually paid a fee for each contract with rates varying widely.

What are the opportunities for career progression?

With experience, you could supervise a research team on larger productions, or you could move into an assistant producer role.

More information?

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) British Film Institute (BFI) Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) Skill set Careers Tel: 08080 300 900
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Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 14, 2008
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