‘The Informal Media Economy’ by Ramon Lobato and Julian Thomas is an eye opening insight into the media industry and future employment. Coming into the final semester and reading a piece like this is scary, it is unsettling knowing that there is two sides to the industry – the pretty and the not so pretty. Looking at media from the outside there seems to be this gloss about it, people only seeing the glitz and the glamour, however for many people involved in the labour of production and distribution, it is all relatively repetitive, lowly paid and informal work – which means it has a real downside. I saw this when I was working with a magazine for work experience. I love collecting magazines and reading them – the glossy covers the clean pages throughout – however when I worked for them, the gloss disappeared very quickly. You see what goes on behind the scenes, the declines, the stress, the pressure of creating something amazing every time you write. These accusations in the reading however, seem to just apply to freelancers, going from job to job.
A big section of this reading was the creative labour debate as there is an increasingly prominent concern for media research. “A growing academic literature has explored current working practices in cultural and media industries building on longer traditions of labour analysis from the political economy of communication tradition, economic geography and areas of social science”. The reading talks about the people that are most affected by these concerns, which are the ground level employees, the ones at the bottom of the food chain. It is strong awareness that separates the ‘gloss’ of a creative lifestyle or career from the reality of working within the industries everyday. It goes on to talk about many young hopefuls wanting to get a job at the end of their degree but can’t, because people give them work experience with misleading acquisitions or with no intention to hire them again. Some may go months and months without seeing a source of payment, which can be hard – and very unsatisfying when you start venturing out into your chosen career path. This reading was in ways difficult to understand, scary to read the facts about employment within the media industry, but it also just reiterated the points that I somewhat had already gathered.