After Deliverable 1.1a, it is time for Work Package 4 to release its first results on the Theoretical Framework on Media Workers’ Skills and Profiles. Within the MCB project, Work Packages 4 and 5 focus on media workers in the city. The framework can be downloaded from our website in the section of Publications. The researchers are working hard on publishing more and more reports within the coming weeks. The first few reports focus on establishing the theoretical grounds for the project. Deliverable 4.1 focuses on media workers, how we define them, what their profiles might be, and the important skills they might have.
Work Package 4 focuses on Brussels’ media workers’ skills and profiles. The scope moves thus from a macro perspective to a micro, sociological interactionism perspective. The report sets the basis for the quantitative study of skills and profiles in media work with a critical perspective. The approach is transversal and aims at analyzing a variety of media workers in a diversity of settings, companies, clusters and environments. As such, this part of the project proposes to fill the gap between media production and working life.
Media workers’ profiles
To clarify what a media worker is it is interesting to differentiate media employees, media producers and media professionals. To describe such a vast domain of work, researchers have often used various typologies: as information professionals , as part of particular sectors (print, audio-visual, new media and advertising), or as task performers (artisans, creators, proprietors, critics, etc.). We define a media worker as any individual, working within a media company or as an independent working within at least one of the four main media sub-sectors -print, audio-visual, new media and advertising-, highly connected to other media workers and producing or facilitating the production of mediated content.
In this context, and based on previous observations we argue that in order to account for this variety of actors, a triple distinction amongst individuals who work in and around media is necessary: media producers, media employees, and media professionals. We propose to distinguish them as partially overlapping groups (see Figure):
- Employees as the individuals working in media companies (as identified in Work Packages 2 and 3).
- Producers as anyone producing media content.
- Professionals as the individuals producing media content as a primary source of revenue.
This partial overlapping of categories leads to 7 new sub-categories:
- Group A is made of media employees working in one of the four subsectors identified in Deliverable 1.1a who are not media producers (2) nor media professionals (3) such as employees in charge of maintenance or infrastructure.
- Group B is made of producers who are not employees (1), nor professionals (3). It is the case for example of amateur bloggers or audio visual producers (e.g. YouTube).
- Group C represents the professionals who are not media employees (1) or producing media (2) such as former journalists who are still involved in the media ecosystem but do not work for a media company or produce content.
- Group D regroups the employees who are professionals who are not producing media content (1 & 3 but not 2), mainly managers or other media professionals working in media companies without being involved directly in content production.
- Group E represents the professionals who are producing content without being employees (2 & 3 not 1); this category accounts for the freelancers and other independent consultants.
- Group F shows the employed producers who are not professionals (1 & 2 not 3) such as employees in companies producing content without formal training or assignment.
- Finally, group G encompasses the media workers who are professionals and produce content within media companies (1, 2 & 3). We assume that the majority of media workers will be in this group.
Media workers’ skills
Because the production of mediated content has developed to the digital world, skills in relation with new-media, social-media, new-technology and media literacy are essential for most workers. Depending on the jobs, a varying mix of 13 skills is seen as relevant: (1) mediated content production abilities related to the workplace, (2) multimedia production, (3) new technology mastership, (4) critical thinking, (5) time management, (6) languages mastership, (7) social-media mastership and uses, (8) ability to work with others, (9) multitasking, (10) enterprising, (11) communication skills and customer support, (12) software and computer skills, and (13) technical skills.