You are probably considering studying mass communication. And wondering what you can do with a degree in Mass Communication. Or you have already graduated with a degree and looking to get better insights into career opportunities in the field.
The good news is that a career in communication is highly diverse. It opens you up to the entire world. In other words, you can fit into any industry. You can build a career as an employee working with corporate, government, or non-government organizations. Or you can pursue a career as an independent professional. You can even build your own business if you choose. With a degree in mass communication and commensurate communication skill, it’s relatively easy to move across industries and career paths.
Mass communication has produced famous people like Spike Lee, Ameen Sayani, Matthew McConaughey, Joseph Pulitzer, Kidd Kraddick, and so on.
Most of the courses you will study in mass communication are from the core elements of social science and humanities. Nevertheless, the major focus still remains on mass communication and communication studies.
After graduation, your career pathway can focus on advertising, film production, broadcasting, or journalism. You can work in radio or television stations. Other career options you can consider include publishing, marketing, public relations, theatre arts, and teaching.
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Studying Mass Communication
Mass communication is imparting and exchanging information on a large scale to a wide range of people. It’s about telling stories to influence opinion on a mass scale.
Studying mass communication as a major will help you to examine and analyze various forms of mass media. More importantly, it equips you to hone a successful career in this continuously evolving field. A degree in mass communication will open doors of unending opportunities due to its interdisciplinary nature. It will also help you to understand how the media works and its impact on our society. You also get the opportunity to test the waters by venturing into media projects of your own.
A bachelor’s degree in mass communication will serve as a strong foundation if you seek a career in this field. Your degree studies prepare you ahead of a master’s degree, law degree, MBA degree, or PhD.
Employers are on the lookout for graduates who have industrial experience. You can acquire experience through an internship, writing for a school newspaper, or working in the school radio station.
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It is advisable for those who choose mass communication as their major to seek internships. Some schools have internship coordinators who maintain a cordial relationship with employers interested in interns. They provide guidance and practical experience if you think it wise to consider.
Skills Needed in Practicing Mass Communication
As a professional, you need to develop skills that would make you indispensible in your chosen field. You should know how to reach different forms of the audience with your information, products, or services. Critical thinking also helps you to understand what is involved in the field and the underlying messages.
Problem-solving skill is compulsory for you to be resourceful and creative in handling professional issues. It will as well help you with your decision-making by taking the right decisions, even if you are working under pressure.
Eloquence and enthusiasm can help you in boosting your public speaking skills. Strong public speaking and presentation skills are necessary to succeed while practicing your profession in mass communication.
You need good research skills. Your knowledge of different research and information-gathering methods would be vital for employers in any field. That would also help you to choose your job.
You need excellent communication skills and confidence to speak on various topics. Public speaking, a very important aspect of journalism needs someone who is good at both oral and written communications.
Writing isn’t just about good grammar; it also involves the methods by which you put your point across. Your writing must resonate with your audience and improve their understanding of your point of view.
As a journalist, you should be prepared to go to places to cover major events and news. Sometimes, these are spontaneous without any form of planning. What would you do? Reporting skills would help you to get your facts right while being as concise as possible.
To develop your skills, you can do the following:
- Look for an internship program at a local television, radio, or newspaper station. You can also search for media companies that are willing to hire graduates with little or no experience to occupy certain positions.
- Join a speech and debate society in the college to learn how to deliver compelling arguments.
- Join a student’s organization where your voice would matter. You can organize events within and outside the school.
- Become a tutor or instructor. This helps you to develop your communication skills.
- Seek a summer job with a consulting firm.
- Practice on your own in the presence of friends and family.
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The Purpose of Mass Communication
Mass communication is the medium for disseminating messages fast to a large audience. Isn’t it beautiful that this is happening in our time? The purpose of mass communication is quite extensive and may not be contained in just a piece of work. We could look at some of them here:
- To inform people: This is the fundamental objective of mass communication. Information is key and could help people unlock opportunities or it enslave them. All kinds of information from weather to entertainment to education are readily available. Just by turning on your radio or television set, you are going to get information about something, even if it is about products and services. By logging on to any social media platform, all you get is information. All these are possible because of mass media.
- Provide pleasure and entertainment: One of the ways people feel relaxed is by turning on their radio or television set, or by reading the newspaper. However, the more contemporary avenue is social media.
- Promote political ideologies: With the help of mass media, political parties can create awareness of or promote their brand, plans, manifestos, ideologies, and so on. They can also educate the public more on the importance of belonging to a political party.
- To share public opinions: Through some radio or television programs, people can call in to share their ideas on what is happening in society and also bring suggestions on how to tackle issues they discussed. Also, through their articles, editorials, and commentaries, mass media can help to build public opinions and create awareness regarding societal issues. Not forgetting that social media platforms can create polls and get people anonymously share their opinions and ideas.
- Persuade the public: Through mass communication, people can be persuaded to see another point of view on issues bothering religion, beliefs, attitudes, ills of society, marriage, and so on. Not to forget the aim of advertisement, which is to convert people from being passive towards a product or service to see reasons to buy the product or service.
Functions of Mass Communication
The functions of mass communication have been old theories, but are still relevant in our contemporary world. Some of them are outlined below:
- Surveillance of the environment. Mass communication observes and informs the public of news or events happening around the world. If there is any crisis in any part of the world, people are going to get first-hand information from the media. For some doubting ‘Thomases’, if the media did not carry such news, then, it is fake or misleading.
- Cultural transmission and influencing social norms. The media have the ability to influence what the people believe in. People are educated on what is considered acceptable norms in the society through the mass media. However, we should understand that there is an evolvement in our culture. What was once considered a taboo could be seen today as an acceptable norm. Before, some television shows would not encourage any form of lesbianism or homosexuality, but today, some shows like the ‘Fosters’ try to educate the public that lesbians can actually raise children in a proper way.
- Education and entertainment. Have you ever wondered how people in the olden days used to entertain themselves? They only had folklores and some traditional festivals which were held once in a while. The advent of mass communication has changed a whole lot of things. Now, through social media platforms, you can get any form of entertainment, even without having a radio and television in your house. Just searching through YouTube, you could laugh yourself out.
- Interpret messages. Media outlets help to interpret messages in more coherent and ethical ways. From newspaper editorials to cable television and radio presentations, we receive commentaries on current events bothering on culture, politics, religion, or even the society at large.
- Instruction. Some media programmes are purely to teach. Their education content helps us to learn new things on specific topics. For example, the NatGeo Wild is purely to educate the public on animal behavior, habitats, and so on.
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Trending Jobs for a Degree in Mass Communication
A mass communication major prepares you for virtually all the media courses. It serves as the foundation towards understanding the major principles of media. It also helps one in making a career choice. There are a number of career options in this field and you are not going to be stuck regarding what to focus on after graduation.
- Journalism: It’s good to start with those guys who wake us up with news and end our day with the news. Journalism can be said to be the most popular career choice in mass communication and also one of the most reputable the world over. With their pen, journalists can do the undoable. Just, do not hand them a pen because you may be on the news the next minute. Journalists find news and disseminate them to the public.
It would be better to have a well-grounded academic record if you must excel in this field. It is not just about being a graduate because for some reputable media houses to employ you, they would consider your academic background and your track record. Diploma courses may be considered by some organizations as well.
However, your skills would matter above other considerations. You must have a nose for news, differentiating between what’s news and what is not, as well as skillfully presenting your job to the public.
To become one a high performer in the jounalism industry is not a bed of roses. That is why you must start from somewhere and then, climb the ladder. You might struggle at the onset before getting your break. Working for hours, getting rejected, being ignored or sabotaged, and so on, are all parts of the job.
- Advertising: Advertising offers you a lot of things. Fame, money, glamour, you could name it! However, it also means work, work, work. Advertising is one of the most demanding career options today. It is about presenting a product or brand to the public in way that appeals to them. There are different formats of advertising which include pictures, videos, and texts.
If you have a strong skill in influencing people to make a decision, advertising could be the right opportunity for you. It does not just pay you well; it makes you an outstanding personality. You need artistic and marketing skills to sell yourself, in addition to formal education. Skills, not certificates, do the job.
- Television and radio production: When you switch on your radio or television, what do you hear or see? That’s it! Working as a television and radio producer gives you one thing – a stable career. You get paid by producing shows and airing them. In the same vein, you would work for a media organization.
Both radio and television production are similar, but use different media for presenting their work. Each content to be produced is fashioned to suit the particular medium of presentation. Television producers perform such roles as writing, filming, producing, editing, anchoring, and so on. This is not so in radio production. Radio production involves the services of producers, recording technicians, and radio jockeys, among others. The program producer is in charge of the whole production.
How do you become one? Developing strong communication, speaking and writing skills, together with technical skills is crucial.
- Film production: There are plenty of opportunities offered in the film industry. This is where most celebrities are created. Acting, producing, photography, cinematography, editing, directing, sound engineering, and so on are some of the popular roles in the industry.
It is all about your talent. If you have a flair for the industry, you’ve got to put in the time to work on your professionalism. Do not let popularity or money be your motivating factor. If not, you may not last.
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- Photography: Do you need any introduction again? The name has said it all. Photography is a trending career in the 21st century. It has undergone quite some face lifting. It requires real talent and passion to become a professional photographer. Wildlife, fashion, health, business, photojournalism, and so on are all areas you can choose to focus on. Taking a diploma course in photography could help in brushing up that raw talent of yours. Working under a professional photographer could also award you some experience.
- Vlogging and blogging: This was one of the professions that came with technology. A few years back, it was just a dormant seed in someone’s mind. Then, with time, it became something that people do for leisure. Today, the narratives have changed.
Vlogging and blogging are one of trending professions and they are gaining popularity like wildfire. All you need is to come up with good content around a subject that intrigues people and pronto, your story is trending. Each click and viewership on your blog becomes a money-making avenue.
It sounds good, I know. The better side of it is that you can do it as a full-time job and of course, become your own boss. You need to develop your writing skills as well as acquire some technical knowledge on the use of some tools. If you can’t undergo the four-year mass communication course, taking some short courses in writing and digital marketing might set you on the pace.
- Public relations: Public relations entails you being the mouthpiece of a company. Duty bestows upon you to create and maintain a positive image of your organization to the public, even when the chips are down. Sometimes, when a crisis erupts, it has the ability to destroy the corporate image of the organization. Good PR would do everything possible to redeem the image of that organization. Crisis management skills, effective communication skills, advertising, and social responsibility must be held dearly at heart if you must represent your company well.
Because every company would love to keep its image clean, they usually hire the best public relations officers to do this job. The pay is worth it, in case you are considering. Learn how to combine creativity and professionalism to bring out the best in your career.
- Marketing: Marketing is, unarguably, the gold child of mass communication. It pays well to be a marketer, especially, if you know how to use your skills to compel people to patronize the company. People from all sorts of academic grounds can choose to pitch their tent in marketing and still perform excellently. The most important thing is to sell your products and services to the target audience. In some cases, you are entitled to some commissions, aside from your salary, for each product you pushed out of the market.
- Graphics: Pictures, they say, can convey a thousand words. If you have the flair for creativity using different forms of designs, this could be a chance for you to make money out of your passion. You can create flyers, signs, and posters for corporate bodies or individuals, using graphic design software. One good thing about graphic design is that you can choose to freelance or work for an organization. Don’t waste that talent; it is time to put it into practice.
- Education: If all that is mentioned above does not excite you, you might choose to become a professor and teach other students. After graduation, you will be faced with the opportunity to continue in the academic field. You may wish to solely teach or become a researcher, or you can become both. All you need is beyond having your first degree. A postgraduate degree in mass communication is a must. You can go to any reputable institution to become your dream personality.
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Other jobs you can do with a degree in mass communication include:
- Event coordinator
- Research Analyst
- Sports analyst
- Station manager
- Publicity director
- Literary agent
- Information Specialist
- Lighting director
- Promotion representative
- Community affairs director
- Business Manager
- Customer service manager
- Booking agent, among others.
Of course, it might require further training to do these jobs better, however, having a degree in mass communication can prepare you ahead for the tasks.
There is a vast opportunity available to mass communication professionals. Those mentioned above are the most sought after. It all depends on your choice to make your dream a reality. Your passion for the course and academic goals will help you to shape your own destiny. It is in you, go for it.