When I speak with broadcast journalism or TV production students, there’s a recurring question that I get from many of them, which is: how do I find a good TV job?
In this video, I want to provide you with a sense of where the current state of job opportunities lies in the world of television and media production.
Job positions do exist inside the world of network TV. That has not changed. What has changed is the number of crew position that exist and also the fact that more of these positions are changing from full time roles to part time or freelance jobs.
One reason is the advancement of technology. Things like robotic studio cameras and virtual sets have resulted in the elimination of some jobs. Another example would be a job like a reporter being turned into the role of a videographer, who would both shoot and interview guests. However, in my opinion, the biggest reason for job losses is the state of the current global economy.
The media production business, which includes TV and radio jobs, is not only in the business of creating quality entertainment – it is also in the business of creating revenue or cash for its owners.
Consolidation within the entertainment business has never been busier. Smaller players keep getting swallowed up by the bigger ones and as a result there is always a loss of jobs as many of the positions between combined companies become redundant or excessive.
A good example of this is evident within print media.
Traditional journalism jobs are no different. There was a time when someone graduating from a journalism program at a college or university would have a plethora of jobs to choose from. Big business has changed all of that.
In most countries a consolidation of print media organizations has taken place. This ensures the maximum return on investment for the shareholders or owners of the business. For example, the local entertainment beat writer may be asked to create a story on the latest trends in theatre visits by the paying public. In the past, this assignment may have been handed out to 5 beat writers in 5 different cities. Now, with a consolidation of ownership, 4 of those writers may now be out of work and the one writer that is left creates the story which is then spread across all 5 markets.
Now it’s not all doom and gloom. If you’ve received a good solid foundation of training, there will always be a spot for you if you’re creative and persistent. As in the example I mentioned earlier about a camera operator who was willing to evolve and become a videographer with both camera and reporting duties.
Another good example is if you’re a creative writer and freelance writing is something you enjoy doing, then I believe there are good opportunities waiting for you in the media production field. The entire entertainment media industry is built upon good stories, and good storylines are created by good writers.
Documentary jobs are very good alternatives to network TV production careers. Many of the roles that documentary film crew members have require the exact same experience and training that network television requires.
The biggest difference for someone to get their head around is the fact that their media job is definitely going to come to an end. You’re basically hired to be fired, because once the documentary production is over it’s time to start your job search all over again.
Personally, I find this one of the exciting aspects of working in documentary production. Each new assignment is a whole new adventure; a fresh topic, a different location, and a new group of people to befriend and get a chance to work with. Definitely not a bad life style – but be warned – it’s not for everyone. This roller coaster way of life will certainly dole out its fair share of stress.
At the end of the day, if you flexible and open to change I believe you’ll have a better chance of not only surviving but thriving in the TV and media world when it comes to having a job. You just need to realise that some of the old traditions of wearing only “one hat” have left for good. If you’re open to change and willing to adapt you’ll make out in the TV Job market just fine.