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Media and publishing: career FAQs

Your questions answered about graduate careers in media and publishing, including getting a job, applications, working life and salaries.

How can I get a job in media and publishing?

Quality media training courses across Ireland and Northern Ireland are increasing, but whether the job market can keep up with the numbers seeking careers in these industries is debatable. Initial work can be piecemeal and sporadic so networking is important in gaining necessary experience. As you build your reputation, choice of work and job locations will widen. However, the reality remains that most job seekers will initially work for very low wages, or even for free on short-term contracts, in order to ‘get their foot in the door’.

How to get a job in film and television
How to get a job in radio
How to get a job in journalism

What are the different areas of work?

The media sector encompasses many job specifications within journalism, print media, film, television and radio among others.

In film and television, roles include those involved in financial, creative or logistical organisation and planning (producer, director, assistant directors, production assistants etc), researchers and writers as well as technical positions (camera, sound etc). Support functions provide other possibilities, such as in makeup or set design.

Radio work can be broken down into content production (producer, reporter, presenter etc) and technical production (engineers). Opportunities exist at both regional and national stations.

The Publishers Association breaks the field of publishing down into three main areas: general and consumer books, children's books and educational/academic/specialist publishing. Various graduate roles are available to those interested in a career in publishing: you can work as an editorial assistant, a proof reader (there are training courses available in this area) or copy editor, or you can work with the design team who specialise in laying up the pages of publications.

What’s involved in the application process?

Applications for most media fields will require a portfolio of work (written for journalism; audio for radio) and it’s worth building up a range of examples. CV and letters, emphasising your experience, are still preferred methods of application, and again networking is vital.

It can help to make speculative applications to the companies you're interested in working for, and follow these up with a phone call. Professional bodies and associations may also be able to put you in contact with people working in the industry.

Applications and interviews for jobs in film and television
Applications and interviews for radio jobs
Applications and interviews for jobs in journalism

What qualifications and skills do I need to work in media and publishing?

Jobs in these areas are competitive, and relevant experience is necessary to demonstrate your commitment. For example, if you want to pursue a career in journalism it is recommended that you write articles for your institution's magazines or newspapers; to boost your advertising and strategic marketing experience, get involved in any campus marketing campaigns. Look out, too, for internships offered by some companies.

What are the salaries in media and publishing?

Pay is often modest at the start, with a minority of people gaining high wages with further experience.

What is working life like?

The work can be demanding in terms of personal lifestyles and energy levels generally. Hours are long and irregular, often involving tight deadlines, so flexibility is essential.

Working life in film and television

Other related career sectors

Marketing, Advertising and PR