A career in media research requires special talents. You need to possess interpersonal skills, computer proficiency, good research skills, and excellent speaking and writing abilities. You should also prepare to work under stressful conditions and occasionally stay away from home while with a production crew. Media researchers need to be bachelor’s degree holders in mass communication, public relations or marketing. This qualification would be integral to meeting the job description of a media researcher.
Media researchers use their understanding and knowledge of media industry needs to develop program ideas before presenting them to the decision-makers. Sometimes, the decision-makers or producers brief the researcher about any program ideas, which the latter would have to develop further. The development of program ideas is often dependent on a media researcher’s identification of appropriate contributors, data, archive material or locations. Part of this role also involves the collation and assessment of information from various sources, such as libraries, the Internet or museums.
A media researcher is responsible for analyzing the state of the media industry. This enables the company to initiate programs that are in tandem with the demand of the target audience. As part of the market analysis, the researcher begins by investigating the market and the output to enable the adjustment and tabulation of productions according to current affairs. The other purpose of this analysis is to enhance the formulation of strategies to expand the target audience’s access to various media programs.
Media researchers have to find program contributors and studio audiences for the program. They must ensure that the contributor is suitable for inclusion in the program according to the format and genre. It is also their responsibility to ensure that the contributor arrives in time; and that the cost of sourcing the contributor is within the budgetary limits. In addition to sourcing for contributors, a researcher assesses the suitability and cost of program locations and identifies any location requirements as the program or script outlines.
The task of preparing production material falls squarely on the shoulders of a market researcher. Examples of these production materials, which accompany the program’s production, include books, pamphlets, fact sheets and booklets. In some instances, she researches and writes content for websites. The media researcher is also entrusted with preparing publicity materials, such as press releases, text pages and production billings. She cross-checks these materials to ensure their accuracy and propose any amendments in a constructive manner.
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