How To Become a Media Researcher

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 8, 2021

If you enjoy research and want to work in the media industry, consider a career as a media researcher. Not only does this job give you the opportunity to use your creativity, but you also get to play a crucial role in the media industry. Understanding their job and how to pursue this profession can help you make a more strategic career decision. In this article, we define the role of a media researcher, explain what they do, state the salary for this role, explain the skills you need as a media researcher and provide you with the steps for becoming a media researcher.

Related: 14 Media Studies Jobs to Pursue

What is a media researcher?

Media researchers help print, broadcast and digital news companies find the information they need to deliver stories to their audiences. For example, when working for TV or radio, they often find details regarding show locations and other background information that's essential for a production. Media researchers conduct research in a variety of ways such as through interviews or social media. Other job titles for this profession include television researcher, social media researcher or radio researcher.

What does a media researcher do?

A media researcher's duties vary by employer. For example, their duties at a TV or radio station likely differ from their responsibilities at a print and digital news organization. Here are some of the main duties of a media researcher, regardless of their employer:

  • Research the market and state of the industry to ensure programs meet the market demand.

  • Discuss ideas with their coworkers, which may include producers, editors or journalists.

  • Maintain accurate records of media materials.

  • Receive permission to use copyrighted information.

  • Find suitable locations for shoots or interviews.

  • Maintain updated list of contact information for relevant parties.

  • Attend events to stay up-to-date with the latest industry happenings.

  • Find ideas for future productions.

  • Provide producers with briefs.

  • Perform research using various methods.

  • Gather factual information.

  • Help organize a cast for films.

  • Operate production equipment.

Salary for media researchers

Researchers make a national average salary of $84,380 per year. Keep in mind that this figure may change for a media research role. It may also change depending on your geographic location, your employer and your experience level.

Skills for media researchers

As a media researcher, you need a variety of skills to complete your job duties. Having the right skill set best prepares you for a career in this field and increases your chances of impressing hiring managers. Here are the skills you need as a media researcher:

  • Interpersonal skills: Media researchers use their interpersonal skills to effectively communicate and interact with their colleagues and supervisors. In the same regard, it's important for them to have strong verbal and written communication skills in order to best present their ideas and research.

  • Computer skills: Media researchers use their computer skills to find the information they need online. Knowing how to use a computer helps them navigate the internet more easily and ensures an efficient research process overall.

  • Research skills: While the required skills for this role vary by employer, every media researcher needs strong research skills. This skills enables them to find the best and most accurate information in order to support a variety of media outlets and platforms.

  • Organization skills: Media researchers use their organization skills to manage and sort all of the information they gather. In addition, having strong organizational skills helps them find the information they're looking for quicker.

Related: Research Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a media researcher

The requirements for becoming a media researcher greatly depend on the employer and the platform you work for. However, you can do several things to increase your chances of employment. Here are some ways to help you gain employment in this profession:

1. Get an internship

While you can get a job as a media researcher without a degree, it helps to have some type of experience to put on your resume. Before applying for a media researcher position, consider pursuing an internship to help you gain research experience in the media. Working as an intern not only gives you first-hand experience in this field, but it may also impress future hiring managers. In addition, an internship helps you make connections in the industry.

Related: Definitive Guide To Internships

2. Review job posts and meet the requirements

Since employers tend to ask for different requirements, review some of the job posts for the companies and positions you're interested in applying for. They may require a different education level, experience level and even a different skill set than other media research employers. Knowing the exact qualifications a company looks for can help you plan for your career and gives you a greater chance of meeting or exceeding a company's expectations. Once you know what a company wants in a candidate, spend time working toward these qualifications.

3. Consider pursuing a formal degree

Based on your research, determine whether it's beneficial to pursue a bachelor or master's degree. While you can always pursue a degree in journalism, you can also pursue a degree that's more specific to the job you're interested in. For example, if you plan to work at a TV station that runs a political program, a degree in political science can set you up for success and give you more knowledge in that regard.

4. Start in a related entry-level role

Consider starting your career in a junior role at a media firm. Then, work your way up to a media researcher role. For example, a job as a production assistant provides you with related experience and gets you into the industry. After this, you can seek a promotion to a media researcher role.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about becoming a media researcher:

What are the working conditions like as a media researcher?

Typically, media researchers can expect an office-like environment with minimal risks. When they're on location, their working conditions vary. For example, a media researcher in the film industry typically spends time on-site during filming. This often means long stints away from home and staying in hotels close to set.

How can you develop your skills as a media researcher?

Apart from pursuing a degree, you can improve your skills as a media researcher through professional organizations, conferences or short media courses through online institutions.

Where do media researchers work?

While most media researchers work as freelancers, some work full-time at a TV or radio station, an advertising agency, a public relations firm or a film production company.

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