Paritosh Joshi: So you want a job in the Media?

05 Jul,2012

By Paritosh Joshi

 

MBA from a leading business school in the American Midwest, two years with a boutique investment bank in Boston and then this young man lands up for a chat about what he needs to do to get a job in the media.

 

It is still easy to think there is a clear demarcation that sets the media apart from the rest of the world. Aamir, Ashton, Arnab and Aishwarya are in the Media. (They don’t even need surnames to identify them). Media people ‘need no introduction’. Us grunts have nothing worth introducing and thus, don’t need to be introduced.

 

Or is it so simple?

 

There were the Media people but they were few and readily identified as such. M J Akbar dazzled us with his insight in columns for a newspaper he edited. Rajat Sharma put people into the dock, quite literally, as he hosted a talk show. Derek O’Brien got all of us furiously scratching our heads even as he quizzed school kids. Madhuri Dixit sent testosterone levels into orbit merely by counting from 1 to 13. And Lalu had to invoke Sridevi’s cheeks in search of a universally comprehensible metaphor for Bihar’s roads.

 

Then Tim Berners-Lee came along and changed everything, although for years after he thought up hypertext in an obscure corner of CERN, we would scarcely have known it.

 

By the late 90s, regular blokes discovered that it was possible to find a wider audience for their periodic rants on WWW than they previously could muster around a water cooler or in a cafe. The web log, then portmanteau-ed to weblog and finally truncated to blog was born either in 1995 or 1997 (you can find an interesting history here).

 

Then blogger came along in 1999, bang in the heady days of the Dotcom Boom and setting up a blog became Luddite-proof. From the very beginning, the blogging community had a wide range of interests and capability. The largest majority would create an account in an idle moment never to visit it ever again. A few would invest time and effort in their posts and endeavour to reach out to an audience with regular, engaging updates. Remember that these were people operating far away from the conventional notion, but what they were doing was indisputably publishing.

 

Everyman had just stormed Fortress Media.

 

It began with the written word. Soon enough, authors had found ways of adding pictures to their words. And the web was becoming more clever all the time. It was able to transport not just text but sound and video too. Also, devices to record audio and video had started to shrink in price and size even as they got massively more powerful, thus putting near professional quality sound and image acquisition within reach. Events unfolded at a rapid pace thereafter. Amazon pioneered a lightweight handheld device for reading digital publications. The Kindle was a runaway success and for the first time, books could be self-published by anyone with a good idea and capable penmanship without ever being imprinted onto the dead-tree medium. Soundcloud allowed wannabe speakers, singers and instrumentalists to distribute their art and craft without surrendering themselves to the crafty gnomes of the music industry. Youtube opened doors for every standup comic, ballerina, burlesque queen and cute kitten to show off its talents on glorious Technicolor video.

 

But wait, we were talking about an investment banker contemplating a career in the media. So what’s with this long riff about what we now refer to, rather condescendingly I might add, as User Generated Content?

 

Well, it wasn’t just individuals that got inspired to start using the all new powers of WWW to talk to their “Audience”. Businesses of every stripe saw the opportunity too. To be rather more honest, what they saw was consumers – happy and irate, sounding off about their brand experiences in these wide open spaces and were left with little choice but to deal, for better or worse, with what they were getting. Surely we’ve all heard the now almost apocryphal story of Coca Cola’s attempt to take down a fan page on Facebook that spectacularly backfired? To the point where they had to pretty much say ‘Let bygones be bygones and let’s be friends’? (Moral: Don’t clobber, co-opt).

 

You see what’s happening here. Companies and brands were becoming broadcasters and publishers.

 

At no time before in the history of our human civilization has communication across every conventional fence and barrier been so easy, inexpensive and by implication pervasive or ubiquitous. And barring the rare exception, individuals and entities find it more productive to be participants in this endless feast of reason and flow of soul than mere mute spectators. There’s even a taxonomy to describe different levels of involvement with media: Paid media are, as the name suggests, those that you have to buy access to. Earned media are where the media voluntarily carry news or content about you. Finally, owned media are, again as evidenced by the name, those that you own and control. Who doesn’t want earned and owned media?

 

And what was it that we were talking about when we began this ramble? Ah, yes. A job in the media.

 

I told the young man, he could stop looking. After all, every job- FMCG, Banking, Automobiles, Telecommunication, <insert randomly chosen industry name here> eventually, was going to be a job in the Media.

 

Paritosh Joshi was until recently CEO, Star CJ. He has been a marketer, a mediaperson and a key officebearer on industry bodies. He is Strategic Advisor, Ormax Media. He can reached via his Twitter handle @paritoshZero

 

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One response to “Paritosh Joshi: So you want a job in the Media?”

  1. Aarifa Khan A Positive says:

    Excellent Conclusion : Awesome Boss

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