Our guide to media
Alistair Stafford

Our guide to media

First published date November 07 2013 Amended date November 19 2013

Ever wondered how television programmes are planned and produced? Maybe you believe that you would make the perfect presenter? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a film geek wanting to analyse how the latest big budget movie was put together or a budding journalist looking to gain some extra experience, there’s a media course out there for you.


But I don’t ever use the media....

You probably don’t realise it, but chances are the media actually plays a huge part in your life. Whether it’s the free newspaper you read on the commute to work, a mobile app used to keep up to date with the latest news on the move or the show you watch religiously in front of the television, we all spend hours of our day with our eyes fixated on some form of media.

With Ofcom figures showing that UK adults spend on average around 17 hours a week browsing the internet as well as over four hours a day watching TV, it’s quite likely that you take in more media than you think!


What to expect

Generally, a media course will contain elements of investigating and researching different types of media, as well as giving you the opportunity to plan and produce some of your own media content. Some of these will be accredited by Skillset and earn you a recognised qualification, while others are just simply for fun.  There may be sections of the course analysing how certain types of people are represented in the media, as well as some support with the communications skills needed to broadcast or write your own work.

However, as there are such a wide range of media courses available, there will be huge variations in what extra information you’re likely to be taught on the course you sign up to. If it’s a particular part of the media that you’re keen on studying, then there are courses available with more specialised programmes such as broadcasting studies or radio studies. These allow you to discover how those subjects operate in more detail and give you extra practical experience in that area.  


But I don’t want a media career....

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t got your heart set on a job in the media industry, a media course can still develop some useful skills which can then be transferred to whatever you decide to do day-to-day. Here are five top ways a media course can give you a much needed boost:

. Better IT knowledge – If you’re not very computer-savvy, then getting practice using unfamiliar software to edit video or audio will give you more confidence when using other more commonly used computer programmes.

. Improved communication – Experiencing speaking in front of a camera or expressing an opinion in front of others will make you more relaxed and confident, when discussing different topics in other social circles.

. More brain power – Your memory will increase as you’re expected to be able to recall numerous theorists and case studies to help explain any points you make, while having to analyse a media product in detail will boost your critical thinking.

. Reunites you with writing – Many media courses require you to produce lengthy features and reviews on what is being discussed in class, which for many of you will be the first time you’ve been set a writing task since your school days. Refreshing those forgotten writing tricks from yesteryear will help redevelop your new writing style.

 . It’s fun! – You’ll be spending time learning and discussing topics you’re interested in surrounded by like minded people. What’s not to like?


What happens next....?

While many may see a media course as a fun way to discuss and understand how their favourite programmes are made, some will view it as a first step towards pushing for a career in the media.

After taking a media course, many decide to go on and study media at university, although there are plenty of other alternatives, with video production, journalism or even marketing all possible options.  For those looking for further inspiration on what to do next, check our Pinterest page for lots of media stories, media courses, tips about getting into the media plus much more.