Explore your Options Build your Skills Apply for Opportunities Connect with Us





Media Overview


  The term "the media" comes from medium, a means of communication. Collectively, the various sources through which information is communicated to the public comprise the media: print, broadcast, and internet. These modes of communication present content produced by journalists and the entertainment industry.

  The broadcasting industry consists of radio and television networks and stations that create content or acquire the right to broadcast it. Programming includes national and local news, talk shows, music, entertainment and advertising.

  (For more information on print media and news, see the Journalism and Publishing profiles.)

Who They Serve:

  Broadcast networks serve both consumers, who benefit from the information they receive, and advertisers, who reach consumers via the advertisements broadcasted alongside the programming. The media is the primary means of communication in an open society, consequently all are dependent on broadcast media for important news as well as popular culture.



Media Specialties


  Broadcasting occupations are generally broken down into five large categories: production, news, technical, sales and management.

  Production is among the largest and most visible areas of broadcast work. It is important to note that most entertainment programs, such as television dramas, comedies and talk shows, are not produced by the broadcast networks but by production companies who sell the broadcast rights to their content. Actors, directors, and entertainment producers fall into this category; because their product is delivered through the media, they are a part of "the media.' Production encompasses all aspects of the generation of content. Occupations within production include:

  • Producers, Associate Producers, and Production Assistants plan and develop live or taped productions, and are responsible for every aspect of the way the finished product looks and sounds. They select the script, talent, sets, props, and lighting. Producers work in all media areas: radio, television, and on the internet. Internet producers plan and develop web sites that provide news updates, program schedules and information designed to generate interest in programming.
  • Editors select and assemble pre-recorded media to create a finished program, applying sound and special effects. Today's editors work with computerized editing programs such as Final Cut Pro, AVID, and Photoshop.
  • Program directors are in charge of selecting, coordinating and scheduling on-air programming. They design the program schedule, or the lineup, to the network or station's best advantage over its competitors, to attract desired audience demographics, and to attract advertisers to the network.

  News-related programming is the companion component to entertainment programming, and requires many support positions. News, weather and sports are the "meat and potatoes" of most broadcasting companies because they attract a large and broad audience and account for a large proportion of revenue. Many programming production positions, such as producers and editors, also work on the production of news programs. News-specific positions include:

  • Reporters gather information from sources, prepare stories and present information on-air.
  • Correspondents report on and summarize news occurring in the locations or in the institutions in which they are stations.
  • News Writers write and edit news stories from the information collected by reporters, correspondents and wire services.
  • News Analysts, also known as anchors or "pundits," provide immediate on-air analysis of the information they receive from reporters and correspondents. They also conduct on-air interviews.
  • Weathercasters report current and forecasted weather conditions based on information from national satellite weather services.
  • Sportscasters select, write and deliver sports news; they also provide on-air commentary during sporting events.
  • News directors are responsible for overseeing the newsroom and the news broadcast. They determine which events will be covered and by whom, and "call the shots" in the control room during the broadcast to determine how and when information will be presented.

  For more information on news-related occupations, see the Journalism profile.

  Employees who work in technical occupations operate and maintain the electronic equipment that records and transmits radio or television programs. These include radio operators and broadcast technicians, who transmit the signal carrying the programming; audio and video equipment technicians, who operate equipment to regulate volume, sound quality, brightness, contrast and visual quality; camera operators, who operate cameras both in-studio and on-location during life and taped broadcasts; and control engineers, who ensure that all elements of a program are transmitted, including live feeds, prerecorded segments and commercials. They are also responsible for ensuring that all broadcasts meet FCC requirements. Coordinating these positions are technical directors, who direct the studio and control room technical staff during production and must have a thorough understanding of both the production and technical aspects of broadcasting. Finally, the Chief Engineer is responsible for all of the station's technical facilities and operations, and generally has an engineering degree.

  Sales and management employees handle the more business-oriented areas of broadcasting. Media Sales Agents are responsible for soliciting and scheduling sponsors for programming, acquiring product-placements during programming, and selling the advertising time during commercial breaks. General Managers coordinate all activities within a network, affiliate or station. including hiring, purchasing, accounting, public relations, legal, and sales.



Media Breaking In


  The media and entertainment industries are among the most competitive and glamorous fields to work. Since there are vastly more applicants than positions to be filled, these industries have the luxury of selecting the most talented, promising, and – commonly – well-connected candidates. Like many lucrative industries, most advancement is achieved via networking. The difference is that, in broadcast media, "it's not who you know, but who knows you."

What Employers Want:

  Because there are so many interested applicants hoping to break into the field, new employees are almost never recruited and most positions are not advertised. Those who do break into the field spend their first few years "paying their dues,' working long hours for low pay. As a result, the main qualifications for entry-level positions are a commitment to the field, the ability and drive required to network one's way into pushing a foot in the door, and previous experience in the field, most easily available through unpaid internships for students. Internships enable those interested in broadcasting to demonstrate their reliability and develop contacts within the field.

  An educational background in communications and media is helpful in developing contacts with alumni in the field, as well as developing skills that will be useful on the job. English, Writing Seminars and Film and Media Studies are excellent choices for undergraduate majors at Hopkins. Unpaid internships provide some on-the-job training, but familiarity with editing software and production terminology and tasks can distinguish candidates truly committed to the field from those who are simply attracted to its glamor.

  Opinions on the value and necessity of graduate degrees in broadcasting are mixed. Industry experience through internships and support positions provide the networking opportunities which ultimately lead to broadcasting careers; however, those who become interested in the field after graduation have little hope of receiving those positions.

  Graduate school can provide time to pursue unpaid internships, as well as an additional community of alumni in the industry.

  Those interested in sales and management positions can generally find entry-level positions with a communications/business based bachelor's degree and internship experience in sales.

What They Hire Undergraduates to Do:

  With previous internship experience in the field, recent graduates can expect to begin in an entry-level production position such as Desk Assistant, News Assistant, or Personal Assistant. These positions often include heavy administrative work, long hours and low pay, but provide candidates with access to industry insiders and hands-on media experience. Because most senior broadcasters advanced from these positions, they are generally willing to help those in entry-level positions advance.

  It is important to keep in mind that there are no defined career paths in broadcasting and media. There is no sure road to advancement; most senior broadcasting executives attribute their advancement to hard work, networking and sheer luck! While trying to break into the field can be discouraging, the industry continues to grow and evolve as media and viewership changes with new technology, and open-minded, hard-working candidates can find jobs.



Media Alumni


Chad E. Gutstein- Executive Vice President, Ovation TV Economics, Class of 1995

  1. Describe what you do and how you got started in your current career. - I am the EVP at Ovation TV, the only national network that entertains, inspires and engages the artist in all of us. Ovation TV focuses on art, culture and personal creativity and helps the cultural consumer put his/her "art" into his/her life each and every day.
  2. What is most rewarding about your job and/ or industry? What is most challenging? - As the EVP, I am responsible for business and corporate development, cultural institutional relations and partnerships, non-linear and other new media businesses, finance and administration. The most rewarding thing about my company is that we are building the world's leading marketing services company touching the cultural consumer by serving and supporting art and cultural in America. Every day I get to work with the foremost stakeholders in American culture, including institutions (MoMA, MOCA, LACMA, Metropolitan Museum, Metropolitan Opera), artists and other creators, arts educational organizations and public and private arts agencies. The most challenging aspect is operating as an independent company in a world of media conglomerates.
  3. Is your career the same or different from what you had envisioned your career would be when you started at Hopkins as an undergraduate? How is it similar and/or different? - I expected to become an investment banker; and I did. But it was not satisfying and I eventually engaged my love of the media business and discovered my entrepreneurial side.
  4. What advice do you have for a Hopkins student entering your career field / industry? - Be focused on what you want to do, build a network of advisors, mentors and business contacts, and don't be afraid to take calculated risks.

Henry Huang - Literary and Talent Manager, Industry Entertainment BA Economics, Class of 2002

  1. Describe what you do and how you got started in your current career. - I represent TV and feature writers, directors and actors. I started by interning at a small feature production company in NY and then got my first job in the business at an agency in LA
  2. What is most rewarding about your job and/ or industry? What is most challenging? - I love TV and movies and I love being a part of the creative process and seeing the finished products, be it on the small screen or big screen. The most challenging part is that a lot of parts of your job life very much becomes a part of your everyday life be it working in the office, reading scripts on the weekend or networking.
  3. Is your career the same or different from what you had envisioned your career would be when you started at Hopkins as an undergraduate? How is it similar and/or different? - I was an Economics major and was very much on my way to a career in the financial sector and never thought I’d be working in the entertainment industry. In terms of the work that is done, it’s very different where a lot of finance jobs are about number crunching, my job allows for a lot of creative outlets and freedom to put together creative projects that I am passionate about.
  4. What advice do you have for a Hopkins student entering your career field / industry? - You will have to move to LA as soon as you're ready to start your career. There's no getting around it. There are limited entry level opportunities in NY and a miniscule number of promotions. While in school intern at a few different types of entertainment related companies during the summer and learn everything you can at those places to get your foot in the door. And you should try to get your first job at an agency. It is the only place in the industry where you will be exposed to all the different parts of the industry and the relationships you make there will be the ones you use for the rest of your career.

Tim Train- President, Big Huge Games / THQ, International Studies major / Psych minor, Class of 1991

  1. Describe what you do and how you got started in your current career. - I run a 130-person game development studio located in Hunt Valley, MD. I started as a play-tester right out of college, getting paid very little money for a lot of work with a local company. My first full project was the original Sid Meier’s Civilization; I went on to work on Civilization II, Alpha Centuari, and Civ III in various capacities. Although being a play-tester can be a difficult job, it’s a great introduction to the industry, and functions in a similar fashion to the “mail room” of a Hollywood studio in the good ol’ days—you find a lot of great talent there. Several JHU alumni followed me into the test lab.
  2. What is most rewarding about your job and/ or industry? What is most challenging? - I can’t imagine a better job in the world. I get to work with some of the most intelligent, funny, and creative people anywhere, all in the service to helping millions of people have more fun in their lives. The most challenging aspect is the time commitment. The games industry is part of the entertainment industry. Like music, movies, or television, working in this industry is a lifestyle choice as much as it is a job. Although things have gotten better since I joined the industry, where months of 80-hour workweeks were the norm, you still go through periods of crunch when you are trying to make a milestone or ship a game.
  3. Is your career the same or different from what you had envisioned your career would be when you started at Hopkins as an undergraduate? How is it similar and/or different? - I had no earthly idea that people even made videogames for a living. If I had that thought, I might have been much more focused in my undergraduate studies. I’d have taken more CS (even though I don’t deal much in tech).
  4. What advice do you have for a Hopkins student entering your career field / industry? - Pick something, and be great at it. There are four major disciplines in the game industry: art, design, programming, and production (project management). Pretty much any degree you might get could map onto one of those disciplines, so long as you excel at your chosen field. Take as many CS courses as you can stomach, whether that's one or a dozen. You don't have to have a technical background (unless you want to be a programmer), but every piece of tech knowledge helps you be a better game maker.

Justin Szlasa- Owner, Triplebridge Productions Ltd., International Studies, Class of 1994

  1. How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - A visit to Berlin in 1986 started me on the International Studies trajectory; it was my goal when I got to JHU.
  2. What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - The solid liberal education that I received at High School, JHU & Columbia + mind-broadening relationships/network + focus took me first to grad school, then to management consulting (for one year which was excellent) then to start my own business which I grew and sold, then back to school for film (influenced no doubt by the writing sems classes I took) and now I am running a film production company.
  3. What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - Management consulting for a small international consulting boutique. It is not my current field but what I learned there has been relevant to everything I have done afterward.
  4. What advice do you have for current students? - Career advice: think hard about what you think you'd like to do and then get close to that kind of work first-hand. For example if you are attracted to law, find a way to work at the kind of law firm you'd choose to target, ask questions and see what it is like first hand. Do this with as many types of careers you think you might want to pursue and honestly assess what you learn.
  5. What is your typical day like? - Now I work in a project driven field--film production. Each day is very different--sometimes it is doing research, other times it is shooting, other times it is editing, other times it is evaluating the technology I need to do a job.
  6. What is your typical day like? - Now I work in a project driven field--film production. Each day is very different--sometimes it is doing research, other times it is shooting, other times it is editing, other times it is evaluating the technology I need to do a job.
  7. What’s most rewarding about your industry and/ or job? What's most challenging? - Rewarding: That I produce a finished product that is accessible to huge numbers of people. Challenging: there are a lot of people who are attracted to it for the wrong reasons and you have to be careful to wisely select who you want to work with--most people in the field are unreliable, unprofessional and have poor work ethics.
  8. What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - Students can join a production company quite easily as a production assistant. The problem is that the pay is terrible and you are unlikely to find a company that works in a reliable, professional way. Advice: ID good people and maintain a well groomed set of contacts; follow the good people you meet until you are in a job you like.
  9. Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - With the deployment of web-based video, it will no doubt grow.
  10. What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - Good sales skills--to sell an idea or concept. Technical capability; strong communication skills; ability to think broadly; ability to understand that the details are critical; 100% reliability
  11. Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - I am not sure--I approached this career (film production) laterally--I just started my own company that I self-financed.
  12. Which professional organizations and resources should students look into or get involved with? - Mandy.com for film jobs; Docuclub; IFP, DCTV, etc

Josh Siegel- Filmmaker, Self-Employed, Writing Seminars, Minor, Film & Media Studies, Class of 1996

  1. Describe what you do and how you got started in your current career. - The majority of my success thus far has been as a line producer, i.e. the person pulling the strings behind a film production – budgeting and scheduling, hiring crew, arranging vendors and shooting logistics. After Hopkins, I moved to LA to go to film school, at which point some production opportunities presented themselves, so I jumped in feet first. Although my background (and heart) is in the creative side of filmmaking, production calls upon my creativity for the frequent problem solving (and pre-solving) required. I am hoping that someday soon one of the projects I am involved with as a full producer will get off the ground, as that will enable me to be more creatively involved.
  2. What is most rewarding about your job and/ or industry? What is most challenging? - Rewarding: I get to earn a living doing what I have always wanted to do – make movies. Challenging: The movies do not make themselves. If anything, they do everything in their power not to get made!
  3. Is your career the same or different from what you had envisioned your career would be when you started at Hopkins as an undergraduate? How is it similar and/or different? - I always knew I'd be working in a creative field, and had always hoped to be able to become a filmmaker. Although, as aforementioned, I might at the moment be working in a slightly different capacity than originally envisioned, it sure beats flipping burgers.

Chris Aldrich - President / CEO, Aldrich Consulting, Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, Class of 1996

  1. How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - I became interested in engineering after attending several engineering summer camps along with family influence. The medicine part came while volunteering in high school at a local hospital. The entertainment portion of my background didn't develop until after I had gotten into JHU. My original goal when I started Hopkins was to be pre-med and become a doctor.
  2. What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - I helped to start the film and media studies department while I was a student and ran the film series on campus for four years along with the MSE Symposium and working on several student film productions. This led me into the entertainment industry where I started out as an executive assistant in a large talent agency. This led to jobs as an assistant to a producer and ultimately to positions as a talent manager and talent agent.
  3. What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - My first job after college was as an assistant to a producer which led fairly quickly to an entry-level position at a major talent agency. It was in my current field.
  4. What advice do you have for current students, especially freshmen and sophomores? - Begin networking with alumni as early as possible. Cold call alumni in areas you might be interested in and ask them what their day to day job is like and what they suggest you do if you want to follow their general career arc.
  5. What is your typical day like? - My typical day involves reading trade publications and newspapers, some planning, lots of information gathering and then lots of phone calls. The engineering portions of my days involve careful layout of projects with clients followed by some heavy design and development work. Then there's lots of explaining and teaching of how devices should properly be used in the field.
  6. What's most rewarding about your industry and / or job? What's most challenging? - The rewarding part of the movie business is seeing the final product on screen and the reaction of the audience. The most challenging is the constant throwing of spaghetti at the wall hoping it sticks combined with the very long lead times for projects to finally come to fruition. In engineering the most rewarding is designing new research equipment that hasn't been used before and seeing clients utilize it in Nobel Prize winning work. The most frustrating is dealing with tremendously smart and educated researchers who simply and often surprisingly don't understand basic physics, chemistry, and biology.
  7. What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - Entry level positions in entertainment are terrifically underpaid for long hours and generally thankless work. To be successful, just suck it up, keep your head down, and slog through it with a smile. As soon as you realize the business may not be for you, get out quickly and find something else that might be satisfying.
  8. Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - More and more work will be produced for distribution directly online, so become highly web savvy. Realize the implications of the internet on the entertainment business.
  9. What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - Running the film series like a business and making student films were the most valuable experiences I had at Hopkins to prepare me for the entertainment portions of my career.
  10. Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - In two years they should be department coordinators at talent agencies or junior development executives at production companies or studios. In five years they should be junior agents or development executives. In ten years they should be well established agents, producers, or studio executives.
  11. Which professional organizations and resources should students look into or get involved with? - For the entertainment industry, students should be reading Hollywood Reporter and Variety on a daily basis to begin seeing how the industry works as well as absorbing general information about who is who and what projects are active in Hollywood.

Additional Alumni Profiles

    Networking with alumni and other professionals who work in these fields can help you learn very specific information about a career field. Use Johns Hopkins Connect to contact alumni to ask for their advice. You may also find professional contacts through professional associations, faculty, friends and family.

    If you would like to talk about how your search is going, we invite you to make an appointment with a Career Counselor by calling 410-516-8056.

    LinkedIn.com - a professional networking site where you can identify Hopkins alumni. Join the LinkedIn Johns Hopkins University Alumni Group to add over 4000+ alumni to your network.


Media Resources


Resources:

Internships:

Industry /Professional Organizations:

Industry Websites:

Networking:

  Networking with professionals who work in this field can help you learn very specific information about a career field. Professional contacts through professional associations, faculty, friends and family can be very helpful. You may also explore career opportunities by talking with employers at career fairs, and company presentations.

  Internships - research positions and summer employment are highly effective ways for you to try out a field, gain experience and skills and make professional contacts.



Media Related


  If you would like to talk about how your search is going, we invite you to make an appointment with a Career Counselor by calling 410-516-8056.