201MC Porfolio Kieran Raza

Introduction

My name is Kieran Raza, and I am a second year Media and Communications student. This is my portfolio in which I will reflect upon the developments I have made as a media professional since the beginning of the year, and the experiences I have that have contributed to my employability.

To start of with, I had a diverse range of interests in terms of the industries I was considering going into. These included PR, Marketing, Journalism, Music and Radio. Throughout the year I have taken part in things to explore these parts of the media to learn more about how to get into them as well as gaining practical experience to improve my skills.

This portfolio is in four sections:

  1. The Media Playground
  2. BBC Music talks
  3. Music writing
  4. Professional experience at Social Network Solutions.

The Media Playground

As a part of the module I was required to work in a group on a project that would explore our individual career aspirations, that would then be presented in a stall at an event. This required application of team work skills, organisation, and the ability to stick to a planned schedule to get things done.

What we deducted is that each of the members within the group were interested in a different aspect of the media. Therefore, we decided that we would each research what is required to pursue a career in our individual fields and then present them on a collective website in a blog format. At the event we then presented our website to others that are also aspiring to careers in the media and gave them personal advice based upon what each of us had learnt. The advantage of each of us having separate specialisms, is that one of us could help anyone visiting the stall regardless of what they were interested in going into. The industry which I researched was careers involving music in the media industry.

The skills that this project required are:

  • Team Work-We frequently met as a group to plan what we wanted to do for the Media Playground and each of us contributed our efforts to the final project.
  • Ability to stick to a schedule-In order to get everything done in time we set out specific deadlines for when work was to be completed by in order to work efficiently. These were adhered to with a professional attitude.
  • Planning for an event-We had to come up with a concept for our stall and consider logistics such as decorations, props, leaflets, and anything we would need for the event to run smoothly.
  • Organisation-organisation was key to this operation as we had to ensure we all knew what we were doing and what the final result would consist of.
  • Initiative to conduct research-whilst this was a group project it required each of our individual efforts to make our own contributions based upon each aspect of the media that we had chosen. Sufficient research into the topic was required of each of us into the subject and what advice we could give other people in terms of pursuing careers in that particular sector of the media.

The project overall required us to apply ourselves, similarly to a professional media setting.

I felt our stall was relatively successful as we were able to give advice to students in a similar position to us, based on the research we had done. Rather than this being told by a teacher or a media professional it will have felt more relatable coming from people at the same stage as them.

our stall at the Media Playground
Documents from meetings in planning for media playground/tutorial record forms

BBC Music Talks

In carrying out research for the media playground event and in preparation for writing my contributions to our group's blog, I attended a series of talks from industry professionals that involve both media and the music industry. As someone with a passion for both of these and who aspires to combine them in my own future career, this was an ideal opportunity to get advice directly from those that have made it in their fields.

Annie Mac

Radio One DJ Annie Mac gave a talk on how she got into radio. She was an incredibly humble personality as she described her beginnings, from frequently going to night clubs in Dublin to discover new dance music to working her way up to today taking on the 7PM weeknight slot on Radio One. She gave a fascinating insight into the inner workings of a radio DJ, and what came across most was that if you are determined to make a career out of something your passionate it is possible with determination and persistence. The main point I took away was to seek opportunities to gain experience in the industry that you want to go into. According to Annie, if you have the 'air miles', then that is what will get attention and allow you to rise up in your given field.

Careers in the music industry talk

As well as the inspiring talk from Annie Mac, I attended a discussion with Jo Whiley and a number of speakers from various positions within the music industry, outside of being an artist.These included Lauren Bren, a music producer at Radio 6 Music,a social media consultant named Nick, Rich Perry a music plugger, and Ally Mccrae an A&R and manager for the band Prides as well as past BBC Radio presenter.

I was particularly fascinated to learn about the music pusher position as it is something I previously had not heard of. Rich's job is to liaison between record labels and radio stations to get their songs playlisted, and to predict what will be commercially viable to push most to stations. This is something I could potentially be interested in pursuing in the future as it combines media and music, and requires attentiveness to the industry that I possess.

I had a lengthy discussion with Ally Mccrae following the talk about what it is like to be a manager and how he progressed to the position he is in today. I enjoyed hearing stories about various tours he has been on with groups as well as responsibilities that I had not considered before, such as booking tours, covering logistics at festivals or tour dates and many more.

What I learnt from this experience is that any job in the music industry requires determination and passion for everything music. It made me aspire even more to get a position in media that combines my passion for music as I believe it is an aspect that I would excel in, as I am constantly attentive to what is going on and am always on the look out for artists up and coming in the scene.

Music Writing

An industry that I am potentially interested in going into is music journalism. Therefore, Before my second year of university I got in touch with West Midlands based online publication Counteract. They have become fairly renowned for their music news, gig reviews, interviews and many other music written pieces and have been established for over 6 years.

A link to Counteract's website is below

The site prides itself on providing a platform for budding writers to gain experience and to have their work published on an established platform, with a relatively large reach of readers. Founded in 2010 by Richard Franks,their aim is to provide contemporary coverage of local news targeting both local and national audiences. Alongside this they also organise gigs and club nights in Birmingham to showcase local up and/or up and coming talent.

With Counteract, I was able to acquire press passes to a multitude of gigs within the West Midlands area. These have included The Japanese House, Ellie Goulding, Walk The Moon, Troye Sivan, Years and Years, Gabrielle Aplin and many more. I also had the opportunity to conduct interviews with American band LANY, Walk The Moon and up and coming act Gengahr. What this opportunity has allowed me to do is gain experience writing at a professional standard and have my work distributed on a platform that is widely read by many people. In interviews I have had to maintain a professional attitude and approach to my interactions with artists, as well as liaison with artists managers to organise logistics of where and when the interview would happen.

Below is a link to a selection of some of my best published pieces

photographs from gigs that I wrote about for Counteract

Social Network Solutions

Social Network Solutions Logo

Over the Easter break I partook in a two week long internship with Social Network Solutions based in Norwich. I previously did a placement with them over the summer, and had an extremely positive experience so returned to partake in more work for them.

Social Network Solutions is one of the countries leading digital marketing agencies with various departments specialising in social media design, email marketing, design and influencer marketing with over 10 years of experience in the business. Many of the brands they work with are fashion orientated, but there is a range of others as well.

My position during this internship was assisting the account managers in their responsibilities of managing clients social media pages.

Throughout the two week placement I was tasked with:

  • carrying out research to source photographs or articles that could be referred to in the posts on brands' pages
  • gathering images that could be used for future posts that match with a brands' aesthetic
  • doing "outreach" for brands which involves interacting with people on social media through brands platforms that could be potential customers
  • writing blog posts for the Social Network Solutions website.
  • updating pinterest stats on a database.

I was required to complete tasks efficiently under a specific time frame, and confront them independently. When I was finished with something I used initiative to be of the best assistance possible to my colleagues, offering to help with anything they may need doing.

"Kieran worked alongside us interning for a number of weeks, assisting all members of our social media team. We were incredibly impressed with Kieran’s ability to adapt to a fast-pace environment, taking on the persona of various brands he was working on behalf of. Kieran was able to source varied images and create posts best optimised for social media whilst bearing in mind brands’ identities and tone of voice. Kieran was very willing to help the team, with a great helping hand, always finding new ways to assist staff with a great can-do attitude. Kieran has had a great insight into our agency, learning about how subtle changes in promotions, images and interactions can affect consumers and followers alike on a grand scale whilst having a look into how bloggers and internet-influencers can help retailers grow. We will be very pleased to have Kieran work with us again in the future and wish him the best of luck with all future career paths!" Ellie Denny, supervisor at Social Network Solutions

A reference from my supervisor at Social Network Solutions

This placement gave me an experience of applying my knowledge learnt on my course, to a professional context. I was working in an office setup alongside my colleagues for 9-5 hours Monday to Friday. It gave me a taste of what to expect in a future media job and the opportunity to work in a setting that is not university based.

I learnt a lot about how brands engage with customers using social media and the importance of maintaining a specific image in digital marketing that will appeal to the appropriate audience demographic.

The placement gave me experience of working with social media and in marketing, both aspects of the media that I would potentially consider going into int he future. I have formed a close connection with the people at Social Network Solutions, and they are happy to have me back for more intern work in the future. This connection could potentially come advantageous in the future as it puts me at an advantage if I ever apply for a paid position there, and it means I am able to get positive references from a professional link that could help in future applications.

Plans for the future

From my experiences this year I have learnt more about careers in the music industry involving media, gained professional experience in a real world setting, and expanded my writing skills and had more pieces published online. Reflecting upon the last year I intend to pursue a career in which I can continue practicing my writing as it is a skill I feel I excel most at. I have also realised my fascination in the progression of social media and it's increasing importance in the industry. I would like to potentially do work placements at other digital marketing agencies and explore other options within the field of social media.

My work this year has increased my overall awareness of what is required to have a career in the media and I have gained many skills that will be attractive to future employees.

Currently I am pursuing an international work placement abroad that will continue to expand my professional experiences. The skills that I have learned and practised this year will come into use, as I will be applying them to more professional working contexts. It will increase my professional connections and make me an overall more attractive potential candidate for future positions, as I will have gone the extra mile to gain real world experience as well as broadening my horizons beyond what is available in the UK.

Credits:

Created with images by ValeriaMoschet - "typewriter rose journalist"

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