When we read newspapers, magazines, listen to Radio or watch T.V. This would be called ‘Mass Communication’ meaning ‘as the message is reached to the masses through different media. Mass communication is, therefore, the term used to describe the academic study of various means by which individuals and entities relay information to large segments of the population all at once through mass media.
Mass Communication profession has become so highly demanding; the request for its services has continued to increase in demand by the developed and underdeveloped countries most especially in the area of Journalism, broadcasting and Media Technology such as Film Media. It is often said that a prospective student of Mass Communication needs to look good (be beautiful or handsome) to thrive in TV broadcast; or has to have a melodious voice to thrive in Radio broadcast, or has to have an exceptional writing skill to thrive in print media; The truth of the profession is that career in Mass Communication is much beyond what is obtainable with these qualities mentioned.
In the broadcast, for example, a prospective student can look up for opportunities in news casting, news reporting, program anchoring, editing and a couple of other things. Likewise in the print media, a prospective student can look up for opportunities in reporting, beat reporting, roving reporting, proofreading, desk editing and a couple of other things. Even outside the traditional journalism, a prospective student can develop a career doing a couple of things including blogging, Public Relations Practice, Communication design and Campaign Management as well as Independent Photojournalism. All these are possible with a well-focused academic training and self-determination on the part of the student.
In Journalism, for example, Print and Broadcast Journalism practice is the most traditional career path one can trail after studying Mass Communication. This is a broad term that encompasses so many things. To start with, journalism in its very conservative form consists of broadcast and print. In both branches, one can aspire to be a reporter, a proof-reader, an editor or a reviewer. One can aspire to be a newspaper columnist or a newscaster in the broadcast journalism in both TV and Radio.
The practice of Public Relation (PR) is the business of creating, sustaining and promoting good mental image for public and private organizations. This career path can be trailed in two different forms. One has the option of working as an employee of an organization for which he practices PR. The other option is to work for PR firm to practice PR as a consultant to other organizations. Whichever way, PR practitioner will have to work hand-in-hand with journalists who are in the field. He would want to influence some positive media attention to his client.
Independent Photojournalism, Press Secretaryship, Information Officer of an organization, a blogger, lecturing jobs are other career opportunities in Mass Communication. A professional course in Mass Communication opens doors for a career in Films & TV, Publishing, Public Relations, Journalism, Editing, Direction, Film-Making, Script-Writing, Production, Fashion Photographer, Cinematographer, Film Director, TV Correspondent, Producer, Radio Jockey/ RJ, Screenwriter, Sound Engineer, Sound Mixer and Sound Recorders, Special Correspondent, Art Director, Editor, Event manager etc.
It should be noted that the most important thing in the study of Mass Communication is not the opportunities offered by the profession; it is rather the human being who will grab those opportunities. In which case, to shoulder responsibility properly, one is required to train to master the technical ‘know-how’ of media profession while in the undergraduate journey, one is also required to have an in-depth understanding of the society within the context of its norms, traditions and values. Understanding the law of the land is of equal importance.
Finally, candidates who are interested to get into news media should have a keen interest and sound knowledge of news and current affairs. A global perspective on various issues helps candidates in obtaining the position of reporter or journalist. Similarly, those who are interested in electronic media are required to have practical knowledge of video editing offered in most institutions of higher learning where Mass communication is thought, particularly offering internship programs with news channels, radio stations etc. before the completion of the programme.
U.S BLS (2013). “Gross job gains 7.6 million and gross job losses 6.5 million in the 4th quarter of 2014.” http://www.bls.gov/. Retrieved date, November 23, 2014.
Rabiu, M.S. (2013). The World of News: Career Prospects in Journalism and Mass Communication. Ibadan: Stirling-Horden Publishers Limited.
Rabiu, M.S. (2014). Journalistic Skills for Professional Excellence. Ibadan: Stirling- Horden Publishers Limited.
MR. ISAAC OLUWASEUN ODEBUNMI, is a Lecturer II in Skyline University Nigeria. He has MSc in Media and Communication Management from South America University, Delaware.