The job of a me­dia prac­ti­tioner

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - EDUCATION GUIDE - ■ To find out more about the pro­grammes of­fered, visit http://www.monash.edu.my/sass/

STUDY­ING com­mu­ni­ca­tion and me­dia stud­ies at Monash Univer­sity Malaysia’s School of Arts and So­cial Sciences was an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for alumni Tee Jowee.

She learnt how much the me­dia shapes world view with­out know­ing.

“It taught me how me­dia mes­sages are con­structed, and it made me aware of how we need to look be­yond the sur­face of what is be­ing fed to us,” said Tee, a copy­writer for an ad­ver­tis­ing agency.

Tee said she enjoyed her course tremen­dously and de­cided to do an honours de­gree, which re­quired one more year of stud­ies.

Her first me­dia stud­ies lec­ture was filled with great an­tic­i­pa­tion as the lec­turer ex­plained about the course struc­ture and ex­pected as­sign­ment sub­mis­sions.

They at­tended a cer­tain num­ber of tu­to­rial classes a week, as well as com­plete a list of read­ings.

Stu­dents had to come to class ready to talk about and de­bate key ideas in the read­ings.

Fruit­ful dis­cus­sions hap­pened when everyone had some­thing to con­trib­ute.

This prac­tice in class not only im­parted dis­ci­pline, but also crit­i­cal think­ing skills nec­es­sary for tak­ing in com­plex ideas and com­mu­ni­cat­ing in a way oth­ers can un­der­stand.

Stu­dents were trained to form orig­i­nal thoughts and opin­ions – noth­ing was spoon-fed.

“We had to think deeply about the things we read. This skill was def­i­nitely some­thing I brought to the work­place.

“As an ad­ver­tis­ing pro­fes­sional, I have to un­der­stand and trans­late clients’ briefs into ex­e­cutable ideas, as well as repack­age our team’s so­lu­tions for the clients in a clear, mar­ketable way.

“At the end of the day, the con­sumer has to un­der­stand what we are try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate about the prod­uct, in the first read of the ad.

“There were also pre­sen­ta­tions in class that honed our speak­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills – two ex­tremely im­por­tant qual­i­ties in the work­place,” Tee said.

As a copy­writer, Tee presents ideas to clients as well as win pitches for her com­pany.

Her ex­pe­ri­ence of pre­sent­ing ideas to a class­room filled with di­verse in­di­vid­u­als helped shaped her con­fi­dence and abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate to peo­ple of dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

“I am also often asked to host and mod­er­ate events, as well as em­cee gigs in my free time.”

Many think com­mu­ni­ca­tion and me­dia stud­ies is an easy course, but this is in­ac­cu­rate.

“Even a sim­ple printed poster should not be taken at face value,” Tee pointed out.

It was crafted to send an in­tended mes­sage, much like a man­u­fac­tured prod­uct.

Even a sim­ple news ar­ti­cle in­volves a team of reporters, writ­ers and ed­i­tors.

It goes through gate­keep­ers and share­hold­ers, sup­pli­ers and dis­trib­u­tors, be­fore reach­ing the end reader.

This news man­u­fac­tur­ing works to en­sure the news re­ceived achieves the in­tended goal – whether to in­form, in­flu­ence or gen­er­ate profit.

In the end, bi­ases and dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives in each pub­li­ca­tion ex­ist be­cause of these dif­fer­ent ac­tors in­volved.

“In my line of work, I have be­come the one that man­u­fac­tures ‘the mes­sage’,” Tee as­serted, adding that she branded and mar­keted prod­ucts, looked at dif­fer­ent au­di­ences, and de­vised strate­gies to speak to clients’ au­di­ence.

“I work with de­sign­ers, sup­pli­ers, ac­count ex­ec­u­tives, my bosses and the client to achieve a well-crafted mes­sage.

“As a copy­writer, it is my job to en­sure the mes­sage at­tracts the right cus­tomer for the brand. I also think about the best medium for each prod­uct based on the tar­get au­di­ence.”

In­creas­ingly, or­gan­i­sa­tions re­quire their staff to look be­yond the sur­face, think cre­atively and crit­i­cally. At work, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion are the name of the game.

In class, stu­dents an­a­lyse the way me­dia mes­sages formed opin­ions about de­mo­graph­ics and psy­cho­graph­ics, dif­fer­ent so­cial classes, groups, coun­tries, pol­i­tics, sports and more.

Monash Univer­sity Malaysia alumni Tee said stu­dents there are trained to form orig­i­nal thoughts and opin­ions.

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