How BMH Grad, Michaelson Gumede found his true calling

Contributed by Michaelson Gumede – Reporter & Boston Media House grad

In some way or another, we all grew up idolizing popular individuals in various professions, particularly in fields we sought to be experts in one day. When I was about 10 years old in primary school, I always looked forward to the arts and culture classes because my teacher was quite lazy and she would tell us to find an old magazine and cut out pictures, paste them in blank pages of an exercise book – sounds boring, right?

My classmates and I used to do this at least three times a week for 45 minutes and as you’d imagined, it really irked some of my mates. Ironically, I enjoyed that process because I would always come to class with two of the most popular soccer magazines in the country, ready to etch out my favourite players and engrave them into my book.

A couple of years after primary school, I fell in love with other professions like radio, particularly talk radio, and I was also fascinated with television production.  Also, I always wondered how advertisers were so sure that if they splashed their products all over television, newspapers, and radio, people would flock to their stores.
Advertising puzzled me and left me with so many unanswered questions.

It’s not unheard of for recent matriculants to suffer a little confusion when it comes to choosing a career path. My mind was half made up about studying journalism but part of me was still eager to learn about the makings of radio and figure out how those advertisers’ minds worked.

And then I came across a Boston media House billboard, talking about a Diploma in Media Practices where you get to learn everything media. At that time, Boston only offered a Diploma in Media Practices, but they now offer degrees and specialisations that rage from Digital Marketing & Animation to Television & Radio.

When I saw that billboard I didn’t hesitate, I applied and was immediately enrolled in the program. Trust me, that was one of my best decisions. I came to understand how advertisers segment particular targeted audiences and they advertise their products based on demographics and something called supply & demand. This Diploma gave me the opportunity to learn in a fully equipped, state of the art studio. We were taught the technical and presenting side of things, and to be honest, I was almost convinced to dump the written word for the spoken one, but passion prevailed.

My fascination with television production was finally put to bed and now I know how you can become a film director or a scriptwriter if you’re properly armed with that qualification. Most importantly, this Diploma fully equipped me with extensive knowledge in my specialization of journalism. And in a short space of time post-graduation, I saw my dream of being a sportswriter come to pass.

A lot comes with the specialisations that Boston Media House offers. For example with radio as a major, you can headline some of the biggest stations in the land just like DJ Fresh does as a breakfast show host. If you’re an introvert and not one for the spotlight, don’t panic, there’s plenty of room for you in the background. You can work as a technical producer or a content producer. Same goes for the marketing and advertising qualifications. Opportunities range from being an account executive to a marketing strategist.

BMH Graduate Michaelson Gumede now works at The Citizen

I spent three solid years at the Media House Campus where I was brewed from raw stone to a sparkling diamond. If you read the back pages of The Citizen newspaper, six times a week, you are most likely to come across one of my masterpieces. If you ask me, the greatest thing about the institution is the intimacy of the campus. It is a lovely petite environment and the student culture is truly amazing!

Thinking about media? Tips from a BMH media graduate

We all understand just how crucial it is to land the right media internship or first job after graduating. At Boston Media House, we aim to prepare students as much as we can about the different local media industries in South Africa.

Siphiwe Nhlapho was a Boston Media House student who majored in Television and Video Production. Siphiwe went to Sesani Studios for his experiential learning – 80 hours of practical work as part of the professional skills module provided in the third year of the diploma. Professional skills modules quite literally teach students all they need to know about being a professional in the workplace.

Professional skills also shows students how to go about applying for different jobs. You’re given the right tools to make your cv more appealing, as well as write motivational letters and professional emails to people in various departments.  Sometimes it’s better to physically go to the company, because when you send emails you may not receive any responses.
“I went there physically to apply for my experiential learning, if you’re really passionate you’ll go out there and make things happen by all means,” says Siphiwe.
Of course, we recommend staying safe and sanetised at all times during COVID-19.

Below are some of Siphiwe’s other tips for students…

  • Go there with the intention to learn, even in the departments you’re not really looking to go in after your studies
  • Network with people around you, it’s really important because people that you work with may be the people who end up giving you references for other jobs
  • Make sure you learn as much as possible about the field you’re looking to venture into
  • Try to learn a lot about how other departments within production function, for example, if you’re into editing; learn more about camera operating, directing, producing, and what goes into those departments
  • Networking is very important, try to form lasting connections with the people you meet
  • It’s okay to start from the bottom, even if it means making tea or coffee for a couple of people
  • There is no such thing as a stupid question, make sure you ask as many questions as possible, and if you don’t understand something make sure to ask for clarity
  • Time is very important in production –  do not waste it – time is money

You can always work as a freelancer in the television and film industry – be sure to carefully review your contract…
“There is a chance of me going back if I wanted to, as a freelancer or permanently,” says Siphiwe.


Thinking about journalism? Tips from a BMH grad

Contributed by Yami Nhlenyama – Journalism & Boston Media House grad

What is Journalism?
It’s a way of informing the people about events taking place in their society and the world, be it political or social issues. It’s all about telling untold stories within society. Journalism as a medium has the potential to influence and change society at large, that’s why if you want to be a journalist, you have to be someone in pursuit of truth. You cannot let your bias and prejudices get in the way of society finding out the truth.

The various kinds of news staff writers

Beat reporters… This means you can write or broadcast on any topic or focus on certain types of news from politics and sports, to hard news and entertainment.

General assignment reporters… These are the journalists who cover news generally without any specific tasks. They report when the editor needs an urgent deadline on a front cover, a story of interest that’s trending.

Special assignment reporters… These types of journalists have specific departments that they write for, sports entertainment, investigative, and politics. You would normally find special assignments in bigger publications. Smaller publications employ more beat reporters.

The journalism industry has really evolved over the years, with the help of technology, from print to digital. Journalists don’t have to work from the office 24/7, they can work from the different places that they are located in and still be able to submit their work on time. Depending on the contract that you’ve signed with the publication that you work for they may freelance, you may work with other publications while still working for them, you can work certain days or when they call you to cover a story.

What it takes to make it as a good journalist:

  • Be able to work under pressure; there might be a story that has to get out immediately and you’d have a few hours to get the information that you need
  • Be time disciplined – it’s a deadline-driven industry. If you take time to deliver a story after the hype around it has faded, people might not be interested in hearing it again
  • Be able to work in teams because the newsroom is all about working together and making sure that everything comes together perfectly
  • Ethics and professionalism

Boston Media House was one of my first choices when it came to tertiary institutes because they are one of the few places that specialised in media-related subjects, journalism included. I knew that it would be a perfect fit for me because I was entering a world full of creative people who thought differently.

When entering the media industry mentorship is important if you’re really passionate about the field. I approached Amanda Matshaka, a channel Afrika radio journalist who’s been in the industry for more than 10 years. She agreed to teach me about the journalism industry, she also has a news publication and was starting a mentorship programme where she mentors up and coming journalists all over Africa. Through her mentoring, I learned that news never sleeps, you have to be ready for anything at any time and it’s all about hard work and dedication.

It takes three years to get your Boston Diploma in Media Practices qualification. In the first two years, you get to learn about different media sectors in the industry including journalism. In the third year that’s when you can major specifically in journalism

I’ve learned that being a journalist doesn’t mean you’re limited to being a journalist, writing for a specific publication, and nothing else. In media every career compliments the other – they interact with one another. Aas a journalist you can also find yourself working in public relations, marketing, or even the film industry and that’s because of the great research and writing skills you acquire during the years.

Ambitions for an Animated Lifestyle

What is animation?

“Many believe it’s just cartoons but actually, this is a medium in which different objects or images are manipulated to appear as moving images. These images are traditionally drawn by hand or digitally with thanks to modern technology”. This according to Mahendra Naidoo, animation lecturer at Boston Media House in Sandton.

What is graphic design?

Flip Hattingh academic manager for graphic design explains; “Also known as visual communication, graphic design involves planning and projecting different and creative ideas using visual and textual content.” Hattingh continues that, “As a graphic designer or an animator you should be a person that works well with others making sure that you think out of the box. Ideas that are out of the ordinary work best in graphic design. You need to be focused because what is learned in graphic design can be confusing.” According to Hattingh, these two fields both manifest as a way of expression, of telling a story as a way of getting a message across.

So what is the difference between animation and graphic design?
Naidoo says that one might assume that Animation and Graphic Design are based mainly on 2D aspects, think ‘flat’ drawing and a lot of advertising. “Actually animation is based on 2D and 3D aspects – these allow the window to open further and the opportunities for creativity to grow, becoming vast and never-ending”.

Naidoo explains that there are many different types of animation studios in South Africa. “The majority of them work in very similar aspects of the field, however, some specialiwe in certain aspects of animation.

Hattingh discusses the work opportunities, which can be for full-time employment either in studios or advertising agencies for graduates in this field.  “You can also freelance as a graphic designer and animator depending on which company you work for and the type of contract that you have signed. And of course, graphic and design form a huge part of the gaming industry, opening up even more employment opportunities” he says.

Tips from Hattingh and Naidoo on what it takes to make it as a good graphic designer and animator

  • Work well under pressure
  • Meet deadlines so that you don’t delay any other production happening around you
  • You need excellent communication skills in order to effectively communicate ideas and feedback with clients
  • Work as part of a greater team
  • You’ll need to possess creativity and artistic talent
  • Be able to think out of the box! Approach each challenge with new thinking

Boston Media House offers three-year and four-year qualifications both of which provide the option of specialising in animation and graphic design.

“Career options are global due to the fact that your institution is internationally accredited,” says Naidoo. “Animation and graphics are globally in-demand skills – animation studios look for animators all the time. Entertainment and corporate companies need graphic designers as these are still growing industries even though they have been around for a long time”.

As a graphic designer or an animator, you’re open to a whole new world every day. You get to work hand in hand with other industries and fields within the media industry. There are various paths open to you like public relations where you would work with designing a company’s corporate identity illustration. You could work in newsrooms, marketing agencies, and in film and television industries.

Jarid Naidoo (2nd Year Animation student at Boston Media House)

“Our lecturers are preparing us for the world out there and still are. Our two lectures Mahendra Naidoo and Amy Williams have been such an inspiration and offer assistance to us as students when undergoing this course”, says Jarid, a current animation student.

“Boston Media House does its best to prepare you for the industry as best as they can. But you can never be prepared enough! Especially on the business side of animation or going on your own, but the knowledge we are given does prepare us for the industry” says Makungu, an animation graduate from Boston Media House.