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Job Description of a Media Assistant

Managing videos, slide shows, and audio files in the digital age is challenging work. Because these forms of media can’t be retrieved with simple keyword searches, it takes a person with specialized skills to catalog, organize and retrieve information. Media assistants -- who may also be called library technicians or assistants -- perform this function for public organizations, such as government offices and libraries, as well as for private corporations, especially public relations firms, advertising agencies and broadcasting companies.

Scope of Duties

Above all, media assistants are the guardians of data. They enter newly acquired media files into an organization’s storage system and help customers retrieve the files they need. They may instruct clients on how to use equipment to view or listen to the media, and they conduct routine maintenance of this equipment, such as changing bulbs and cleaning the machines. Media assistants usually are responsible for physical control of the media, which normally requires a periodic physical inventory and may include checkout procedures when a customer wishes to take the media from the archives.

Key Skills

Organization and attention to detail are essential skills for media assistants. Because this is a customer service profession, communication and interpersonal skills are also very important. In addition, media assistants must have basic math skills to help with budget-related tasks or produce statistics regarding usage of the media. Keyboarding and basic computer skills also are necessary.

Required Education and Experience

At a minimum, media assistants must have a high school degree, and many organizations require at least an associate’s degree. No specific certification is required, but certification or coursework in library technology or related disciplines -- such as acquisitions, data management and automated records systems -- is highly desirable. Larger firms, such as broadcasting corporations, may require a bachelor’s degree with specialization in media management, marketing or public relations.

Experience and Path to Advancement

Some employers are willing to hire new graduates, while others prefer candidates with at least a year of work experience in a related field, such as administrative work or customer service. Media assistants may assume additional duties and earn salary increases with additional education -- at least to the bachelor’s degree level -- and become the manager of a media office in a company or a section head at a library. Most libraries require managers to have a master’s degree in library science or a related field.



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