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What makes up the media industry? The media industry covers a wide spectrum of companies that produce media products. These could be radio or television programmes, newspapers or magazines, films, interactive CD-ROMs/DVD’s, pod casts or websites, or even computer games.

The main media industry sectors The main industry sectors can be categorised as: Television



Photo imaging



Interactive media

Advertising and marketing

The diagram below shows how the media products fit into these sectors:



On the worksheet below, add the names of some of the products you have seen or heard next to the industry sectors. Media type

Name of product


Radio 1, Heart FM, Kerrang


Only Fools and Horses (CF) (Gold) , Family Guy (PF) (BBC3), The Inbetweeners (OD) (E4)

Photo imaging

News – BBC, Sky and ITV


The Sun, The Mirror, Daily Sport


Maroon 5, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers

Interactive media

Twitter, Facebook and My Space


Gladiator, Happy Gilmore, Hitch

Advertising and Marketing

Walkers Crisps, Coca Cola, Go Compare

The size and shape of the media industry The media industry is not just relevant in one country or one continent but across the whole world. Many media companies operating in the UK are owned by parent companies in other countries. Look at some of Viacom’s brands, which of these have you heard of, read or watched?



Think about the media industry in our local area. What types of media companies are there? Fill in the table below with media companies in the Central Region.

Media industry sector

Name of company


BBC Regional News


Beacon Radio


The Express & Star, Birmingham Post, Chronicle, Chase Post, Burntwood, Birmingham Mail, Daily Mirror, Manchester Evening News, Mirror Group Newspapers


A Bomb Studios

Photo imaging

Richard Holman Photography (Birmingham)


LaveryRowe Advertising LTD – Birmingham – Newspaper/Magazine Advertising (Mixture)

Some of the companies you have listed above may have an influence on other parts of the country, and some of them may belong to national companies. PHM Productions is a media production company based in North Yorkshire. They are an example of a small, independent media company. The majority of the media products they produce are made for clients across the UK. They use their website to show clients what they can do. Look at the PMH Productions resume, to see their mission statement and information about their client base. The Cannock Chase Post & Burntwood Post is the leading newspapers in Cannock and Burntwood, with more readers than any other free weekly title within their distribution area. The papers have been serving the community with strong localised news coverage and a reputation for editorial excellence for nearly 20 years. They are one of the top sources of information in the area, with comprehensive advertising platforms such as motors, entertainments, classified and recruitment. They are owned by the media group Trinity Mirror Midlands Limited. 3


Structure and ownership of media companies Media companies can be classified as: Private companies

In the UK, this is usually a company that is owned by an individual or a group. They need to make available only limited information about their operations to competitors.

Public companies

In the UK, this is usually a company that has shares traded on the stock exchange. They report on their business operations to their shareholders and to Companies House.

Publically owned companies

These are companies owned by national, regional or local government.

Cross-media companies

These are companies, such as Viacom, that own media operations as well as other diverse companies. Viacom have 4


interests in film, music libraries and music programming. They also run cable channels for children’s programming. Until recently they owned the Blockbuster chain of shops. They were able to release their films, produced by Paramount Pictures, through this outlet and so saved money on distribution costs.

Companies House is an organisation that registers new companies, keeps records of existing companies and makes this information available to the public News Corporation is another example of a cross-media company. Identify what media products each of these News Corporation brands produces. Identify one other brand they produce and add it to the table. Movies Films

Sports TV Stations Movies




TV Shows

How could the ownership of media products influence how you think about media issues? How might you be influenced to buy a product –or think about the news –if all of the information came from just one source. For example, a newspaper is owned by the same person who owns a satellite television company. This person also owns a commercial radio station and has linked these to websites giving 24 hour coverage of news across the world. How much influence do you think this person has if they decide to favour one political party? How much influence do you think they would have on sales of one brand of a particular product? Vertical integration is the term applied to companies with a common owner that are linked along the production-distribution chain. The companies a can co-operate to produce the materials needed for production, undertake the 6


production process and distribute the end product. This provides a reliable workflow, with increased profits for the company. An example of this is Apple, who design their computer hardware, operating systems and much of the software used in their products. They have also opened Apples stores for retail sales and Apple iTunes. Example: American Apparel own companies all along their production process. Horizontal integration is the term used when media companies own several producers of products in one sector. An example of this is EMI, who are the world’s largest independent music company. They own several separate record producers and music publishing companies.

Job roles in the media industry Job roles in the media industry range from technical and creative to administrative and financial. Each job role plays an important part in the production of a successful media product – and ultimately in keeping the media company in business. Media products are generally made by teams of people, and every team member has a role to play.



To understand the variety of roles better, first decide on a sector to investigate. You may have a particular interest in one of the sectors –perhaps you are planning a career in it. You may have already done some in depth research. Think about the job roles in your chosen sector, such as:


Job roles


e.g. camera or sound operator, lighting technician


e.g. director, lighting cameraperson, journalist


e.g. editor, sub-editor, sound or vision editor


e.g. producer, location manager

Sales and marketing

e.g. sales manager, telesales


e.g. production assistant, secretary


e.g. accountant, payroll clerk

Homework: Watch a DVD or TV programme and make a note of some of the job roles that appear in the credits. Some of these you might not have heard of. Use the Internet to find out what these jobs are.



Professional Working Practices People working in the media industry have to work to professional standards. These are referred to as codes of practice, and though they are not generally compulsory, everyone should follow them. Here is an example from the press sector’s code of practice:



The BBC’s editorial guidelines are outlined as:



The advertising code of practice states: These codes of practice help media practitioners to keep within guidelines of taste, decency and truthfulness. There are legal restrictions that workers in the media must observe. You cannot simply say what you like, go where you like or record what you like. You must carefully consider the legal issues such as: Libel Law: libel is the defamation (damaging) of someone’s character using written words. Slander Law: slander is the defamation of someone’s character, using spoken words. Can you find some examples of both of these instances? 11


Slander: Victoria was in court for slander after calling a shop owner loud and rude and accused them of selling fake autographs of her footballer husband David Beckham. The judges awarded legal costs estimated at ÂŁ100,000 against Ms Beckham. Timothy, Glynis and Anthony McManus

The Guardian:

Libel: Kerry Katona has accepted substantial damages from the Sunday Mirror after taking libel action against the red-top, which falsely claimed her mother was about to expose her as a prostitute. The Guardian: Race Discrimination Act – these statements are from the Commission for Racial equality: Racist incidents, ranging from criminal harassment and abuse to physical violence, are offences under criminal law. Publishing and disseminating materials, such as leaflets and newspapers, that are likely to incite racial hatred is also a criminal offence. Racially offensive material in the media contravenes codes of practice. Complaints can be made to the Press Complaints Commission or the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Complaints about racially offensive advertisements should be made to the Advertising Standards authority. Further information on Equality and Human Rights can be found at:



Other legal restrictions you will encounter are: Copyright: you must not use other peoples work and claim it as your own. If you want to use someone else’s work, you must ask for written permission. You always need to be aware of the issue of copyright, and how it impacts on the working life of a media professional. Censorship: you have to abide by decisions of government on what you can print or report about certain sensitive issues. You have been asked by your manager to secretly record an interview and broadcast it on your radio programme. The interview is with the leader of a group of extremists. What legal issues should you consider? You are not allowed to do any secret recordings unless you have evidence. You cannot broadcast the whole of a telephone call. By law for the BBC you have to fill out a form and add the evidence you have. Has it been authorised/approved before it goes out.

Contracts, conditions and pay 13

UNIT 3: THE CREATIVE MEDIA SECTOR There are a number of different types of contract offered to people working in the media industry:

Full-time permanent

This type of contract provides work on a full-time basis, with benefits, which could include a pension scheme, sick pay, holiday entitlement or bonuses.

Part-time permanent

This contract provides part-time working to an agreed pattern, with benefits, which may be the same as those in a full-time permanent contract.


A worker is hired to work on a particular project that lasts for a limited time. For example, you might be hired as a alighting technician for a television drama being shot on location over three months.


This is where you are contracted on the basis of being available at short notice to cover emerging stories. This might be an article for a local newspaper, filming a football match or recording an interview for radio.


This is one of the most common contracts in the media industry. A freelancer works on a project in a role, such as a journalist, for a contracted amount of time. Freelancers can be working on a number of projects at the same time for different clients.

The term ‘stringer’ originated in the newspaper industry, where journalists were employed to ‘string words together’. They were paid according to the length of the articles they produced –as measured, some claim, by a piece of string.

Working on a permanent contract provides stability for media workers. A fixed-term contract allows them to experience working for different clients, with guaranteed work for a fixed term. The stringer is only given work when there is no one else available, so this is not regular employment. Many stringers do this role as well as other jobs, which might not be in the media. The freelance role is becoming the standard in the media industry. Freelancers have to find their own work, control their own budgets and pay their own tax and national insurance. There is generally no holiday entitlement or sick pay, so they only get paid when they are actually working. Freelancers can be out of work for long periods, so they must maintain a wide circle of contacts, to use when searching for work.


UNIT 3: THE CREATIVE MEDIA SECTOR Work patterns in the media vary greatly. Sometimes you simply have to work until the job is done. Some administrative jobs follow office hours, but a production assistant will be working alongside a production crew, and will follow their work pattern. Location work, recording interviews, reporting ongoing news and preparing advertising material may require long, unsociable hours. However, the rewards of seeing your work in print, on the television or hearing your work on the radio are well worth the long hours.

Getting a job in a media sector Skills and qualifications Many employers in the media industry look for people with formal qualifications. These are not always qualifications in a media subject, thought they could be related to the subject, such as English Literature if they are looking for writers or journalists. Potential employees with experience of using media equipment as part of their course are more likely to be shortlisted for an interview. Experience of working in a voluntary capacity, such as a hospital radio or students newspaper, could be seen by a potential employer as an example of good skills development and commitment. Employers understand the value of part-time education, and you might be able to attend a local college to gain further qualifications once you are employed. Some sections of the media industry operate a ‘closed shop’, so you will need particular qualifications to work in this area. One example is the newspaper industry, where you need a qualification from the National Council for the Training of Journalists to work as a journalist.

Employees in the media industry should also consider ongoing professional development. The nature of the industry means there are constant changes to standards, techniques and technology, so even once you have a job, training should not stop. The BBC offers ongoing training to its staff so that they can build new skills and develop new roles. It is unlikely that anyone taking aLevel2 qualification would be successful in their application for a senior production or managerial role in the media industry. It would be better to take on a lower role and then build up their skills in order to progress. Undertaking a Level 3 will 15


provide a higher level of knowledge, understanding and skills, but still may not be appropriate for some media-related jobs. There are a number of Universities offering media qualifications, often these can provide valuable work-experience or work related activities, such as being involved in student radio or newspapers. If you want to work in the media industry, you should consider making contact with potential employers to find out what they are looking for in media job applicants. Taking on voluntary media jobs wherever possible will build on and demonstrate your media skills. A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a useful marketing tool. A CV can demonstrate your commitment to developing media skills by outlining all the projects you have undertaken. It also gives you an opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer or client. Imagine a CV as a brochure all about you and your skills. What can you do that would make you stand out from the other candidates? What can you offer an employer? What are your strengths as a potential media employee? Maybe the way you present your CV could show initiative (see

The CV should demonstrate your team-working skills – through your work on a media project or as a member of an organisation. Employers do not know you or anything about you, so you must tell them what you are good at, and how you can benefit their company. Produce a CV, using word, that demonstrates your skills you have gained so far Save the file as a .pdf Open an account with Issuu. Upload your CV


UNIT 3: THE CREATIVE MEDIA SECTOR There are a number of trade unions that offer protection and advice to their members. It is no longer necessary to belong to a union to work in any of the media sectors, but it can be beneficial to have the strength of a union behind you when negotiating pay and conditions, or when you are in dispute with your employer. Open the file Support Media Organisations.pdf.

Transferable skills People working in the media industry have a wide range of transferable skills – knowledge and technical skills, for example, or commitment and efficiency. You will need knowledge and technical skills in media production if you want to make media products and be committed to making these products in the most efficient and cost effective way. It is important to be reliable and punctual. Working in a media team requires you to be at the right place at the right time. It is important as a potential media worker that you have self-presentation skills. You will have to pitch your ideas or discuss the finished product with a client, and you may have to give a presentation in order to win a contract. You will certainly have to ‘sell’ yourself at an interview. All of these require self-presentation skills. You have been given instructions on how to get an address where you are to interview a famous musician. The musician has only a ten minute window before they have to leave for a tour of the USA. What would you do to ensure you have got to the correct address before they leave?

Methods of recruitment The media industry uses a number of techniques to recruit staff. One technique is to advertise media jobs in the nation press – the Media section of the Guardian, for example, published every Monday. The paper provides several pages of media jobs and includes them on their website. There are a number of media trade publications that have sections for jobs. Media Week is a publication that specialises in keeping media professionals informed about events in the media. They have a section of jobs in their magazine and on their website. Recruitment agencies tend to recruit for specialist areas – the television industry, for example. Inspired Selection is an agency that specialises in recruiting both creative and administrative staff for the publishing industry.



Media professionals find the Internet is a useful tool for job hunting. It provides instant access to job details, pay and conditions, and job locations. You can quickly contact the recruitment company or the potential employer to ask for further details, using email rather than ‘snail mail’. Sometimes, simply doing a good job will be a recommendation, so that a company might approach a media professional directly. A media professional might also have built up a list of personal contacts that they can refer to when looking for work. These contacts, too, need evidence of projects the media professional has worked on and their standard of work. Once you have a job in a media company, there is always the possibility of internal promotion. The BBC has a policy of advertising internal job opportunities to staff before advertising them externally. You need to show the transferable skills mentioned earlier if you are to achieve internal promotion.

Find three examples of advertisements for media jobs and identify: What qualifications you need for the job What the job involves 18


The contract being offered The salary being offered The location of the job (if any)


This booklet you have worked through will have covered all of the outcomes for this unit. You should now know: 1 how the creative media sector is structured 2 about job roles and conditions of employment in a creative media industry 3 how to gain employment in a creative media industry.


Unit 3 workbook  

Workbook for unit 3

Unit 3 workbook  

Workbook for unit 3