When we think of working in radio or television, most of us imagine a glamorous world. But is it really the way we picture it? After doing work experience with BEAT 102 103 and TG4, Lynda Hennebry tells us the harsh realities of working in the media.
The media industry is one of the most talked about career sectors out there, and it’s something everyone knows at least a little about.
There’s no denying that for some people working in the media sector would be a dream come true, seen as an ultra-glam and exciting adventure. But for other people, a career in the media would be a nightmare, seen as extremely immoral and pointless.
For me, a media and PR student in Carlow IT, media is my main focus and I spend most of my time studying it and working my backside off to try get established in it.
From a young age, I knew that this was the route I wanted to take. Dreaming of becoming a radio presenter and journalist, I began putting my plan in action from the age of fifteen, getting work experience anywhere and everywhere I could, something which is essential in this industry. I began to get articles published and made as many contacts as possible.
Ask anyone associated with the media industry, from the minute you express interest in media you’re advised to get experience and make contacts. In this industry, it really is who you know, not what you know, trust me I’ve learned this the hard way.
I began my first day’s work experience when I was sixteen years old. I worked with the now UTV presenter Zara King in Beat 102 103 radio station, and that was the day I fell in love with radio and knew it was my dream job.
Throughout the years I’ve spent more days than I can count in Beat 102 103, this year I even spent twelve weeks there taking a course on broadcast journalism and presenting so I’d like to think I know my fair share about radio at this stage.
When I first went into studio it was exactly how I had imagined it would be, complex and interesting. However the longer I spent in there, the more immune I got to the surroundings and the easier things got.
One thing in which I always believed about radio is that it’s very social and fun, but from my experience this isn’t always the way, you are initially spending your time talking to yourself.
Most radio presenters also don’t choose the music they play, so they’re initially content fillers. You’re constantly coming up with stories to talk about and thinking about what’s coming next.
For me, there’s nothing negative about radio but trust me when I say, if you’re thinking about a career in radio it’s something you need to get experience in yourself.
When it comes to TV this is something very different than what I had first imagined. I got my first ever TV experience with TG4’s Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill as she presented the Rugbaí beo live on TV.
I went in with the expectations of makeup artists and glam squads, I think I was expecting a real Beyoncé experience. In reality I saw Máire Treasa putting on her own make up, doing her own hair and everything is done from within a big truck parked on site.
TV is a lot of pressure and from what I’ve seen, things can go wrong very quickly. If you imagine TV as glamorous and extravagant, then you really need to get yourself a reality check.
So when it comes to my opinion on the media industry, it’s the best industry in the world, but something you really need to develop a thick skin for.
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been told “no” or the times I’ve been called out for making mistakes, never mind the numerous emails I’ve sent that I have never received a reply to.
For a career in media you need to be able to take all these things on board yet be willing to work your backside off.
When it comes to this industry, opportunity doesn't knock. It presents itself when you knock the door down.
Photo: Andréanne Germain/ Flickr