Mass and broadcast communications are focused on the delivery of timely and engaging news information to the general public. Read on to find out more about employment requirements and prospects, as well as salaries, for mass communication and broadcast professionals.
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.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment opportunities for broadcast news analysts are expected to decline by 2% between 2012 and 2022; openings for correspondents and reporters are projected to decrease by 14% during the same 10-year period. As of May 2012, broadcast news analysts earned a median annual salary of $55,380, while correspondents and reporters had median annual incomes of $35,870. Film and video editors and media and communication workers in general earned $46,280 and $45,160 respectively (www.bls.gov).
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, and programs include those that have been approved by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. 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.
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.
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. Ongoing professional development is available through such organizations as the National Association of Broadcasters.