The scope of mass communications
By: Gulshad Ahmed Shaikh
Previously, the field of Mass Communications was often misunderstood by the candidates applying for admissions in a university. Mass Communications has been a subject of social sciences (in past Arts), but most of the candidates at the time of filling the options in the admission form thought of it as a subject of natural sciences and put it in next to telecommunications mistakenly, which happened with some of my friends. Many of the students after getting admissions in the discipline became familiar with the subject; which was a serious concern in terms of learning a subject in which they might not be interested.
The unfamiliarity with the subject is a leading cause of enrollment of disinterested candidates in Mass Communications. With the growth of the media, people are seen more aware and informed about the subject as compared to the past. Now, we can find majority of the students who get admission in Mass Communications as their preferred choice, but there is still a need to explore more about the discipline. However, mostly candidates are aware of the basic particulars of the subject, but not found to be familiar enough with the scope of Mass Communications in depth. This article will provide information to understand the meaning and scope of the Mass Communications helping the candidates in selecting it as their major subject and ultimately adopt it as a career.
Regarding the scope, generally, Mass Communications is viewed just relevant to media; however, the field is not confined to it. Though, media as print, electronic or online is a significant component of the subject, there are other fields relating to Mass Communications in which the public, private, and non-government organisation (NGO) sectors are included. A media organisation itself can be a state or privately-owned institution. Commonly, major preference is given to the private sector of media, however; a large number of opportunities also exist in the public sector. Almost every organisation, whether private or public, needs the services of a public relation officer (PRO) who has a responsibility to promote the mission and vision of the firm by issuing press releases, making videos, designing brochures, leaflets or pamphlets and writing other promoting stuff to achieve the desired targets.
Most mass communicators are found doing irrelevant jobs; the reason is improper understanding of the subject or having a narrow concept of the field. However, there is no dearth of jobs for the candidates who have graduated in Mass Communications. Alone media; print, electronic, and online, provide a big proportion of employment for the Mass Communications degree holders. After getting education in the discipline, a student can be appointed in media organisations (e.g. newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV channels, news agencies, etc.) as a reporter, sub-editor, proofreader, researcher, copywriter, assistant director and assistant producer.
Though, a mass communicator can also be an anchor, actor or performer, this does not necessarily require the qualification of Mass Communications. In fact, people from other fields can also be good performers if they have some natural talent and deep interest. Similarly, Mass Communications is not viewed as an essential requisite in the appointment of technical staff in any kind of media organisation. Next to media, the NGO sector employs scores of mass communicators. In fact, almost each NGO has a department of Media and Communications. The major responsibility of such a department is the propagation of NGO activities in the media. Besides, an NGO publishes its own newsletter, magazine and other writing stuff. Making documentaries is also one of the jobs of the department. Therefore, an NGO announces the positions under the title of media officer, communication officer and communication specialists and Mass Communications degree holders are highly preferred for these posts.
Opportunities for the mass communicators are not limited. Even in the case of the government sector, the Information and Archive Department hires an information officer for which Mass Communications is again a preferred choice. Similarly, a mass communicator can apply for lectureships or even join the armed forces; army, navy or the air force as a public relation officer. It indicates that all around opportunities are available for a mass communicator. He or she just needs to stay focused and target a particular dimension of the field.
A mass communicator should not restrict himself or herself to the theoretical part. In fact it is also necessary to learn the practical aspects of the subject. In this regard, the students of Mass Communications should actively take part in the activities organised at their educational institutes and experience practical work in their targeted area of the field even during the academic career. Students interested in media organisations, the corporate sector and NGOs must do internships in the respective fields.
In fact, every year scores of students graduate in Mass Communications but only those equipped with skills succeed.
No doubt, Mass Communications is a very interesting subject and possesses a wider scope, but it should be picked by the students who are highly interested in it.