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Programme research: graduate area of work

Programme researchers organise, plan and co-ordinate the production of television and radio programmes, and undertake relevant background research.

Programme researchers are employed by independent production companies and television, radio and cable companies. Experienced researchers may be able to obtain freelance work.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • generating programme ideas
  • gathering and presenting relevant information, facts and figures
  • organising meetings and interviews with appropriate people
  • writing and editing briefing notes and scripts
  • conducting interviews
  • briefing programme presenters
  • booking production equipment and staff
  • preparing cost accounts.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate their ability to work under pressure and to deadline. The industry is dominated by short-term contracts making for a varied and interesting working life.

What's required

A degree in any discipline is acceptable for entry, although a relevant qualification in, for example, journalism, English, public relations, media studies or history may be preferred. Specialist knowledge may be necessary for some positions. A postgraduate journalism qualification can be helpful for graduates without relevant degrees.

Employers seek candidates who possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, who are adaptable and able to work well under pressure. Good organisational, administrative and IT skills are also important. Candidates must be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in the work, backed by previous journalism, television or radio work experience.

Where to find out more

Most vacancies occur in major cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London. Opportunities are advertised via the internet, national newspapers and specialist publications such as Audio Visual, Media Week and Broadcast.

Candidates need stamina, enthusiasm, determination and perseverance as there is intense competition for opportunities - hundreds of applications may be received for each advertised position, and many more speculatively. Networking, job shadowing and speculative applications are advisable.