Interview with Kerstin Becker: Using Media Psychology in the Television Industry

By Apr.08, 2014

BildKerstinBecker (1)Adam talked to Kerstin Becker about her career in television production for the third of our series on catching up students from cohort one of Media Psychology. From Germany, Kerstin actually took a career break to visit the UK to study our MSc.

Adam: Hello Kerstin. You’re one of the students from our first Media Psychology cohort. When you joined us you already had a successful career in TV production, so why did you feel Media Psychology would be useful to add to your skills-base?

Kerstin: Hi Adam. I am very happy that I have been able to take part in this excellent programme. Thank you for offering this exciting opportunity. When I started to look for an advanced programme in the field of media, I became interested in the field of communication interactions and their psychological impact. In order to be successful in the television industry, I think it is vital to understand the audience’s mind. Media use in the 21st century indicates an active and fast paced tendency. Social media platforms, like e.g. Twitter, offer opportunities as well as drawbacks. Therefore, critical knowledge about the audience’s engagement with past and current trends is necessary to evaluate impressions and effects of the media on the audience. In addition, the presence of the second screen has changed traditional media/television consumption and offers new chances for programme makers as well as programme consumers. The science of psychology presents ideal parameters to research and analyse modern media interaction.

Adam: You’ve finished the course now (congratulations on an excellent dissertation by the way!) and have taken a role in Europe’s largest media group, RTL. Can you tell us a little about your role?

Kerstin: Thank you very much. You have been a wonderful supervisor for my dissertation. RTL Television offered me the opportunity to work in the department of programme development. This field of television involves a profound comprehension of media processes. Before I was able to start developing programme ideas, I researched and analysed various national and international TV documentaries and series. Based on several factors (like e.g plot, ratings, costs), I introduced my chosen pitches (potential stories) to our brainstorming sessions. If an idea received positive feedback, I started further in-depth research around the idea and worked out a more detailed script.
Since my promotion, I have taken on a leading position for the daily two hour-broadcast magazine “Punkt 12”. I handle the overall content and editing responsibilities for the second hour which airs features about females, family, health and psychology issues. I identify topics, create and improve ideas and I am responsible for decisions that relate to the look and feel of the magazine. Basically, I make the decisions about what we cover and to what extent. In addition, I supervise, motivate and develop a staff of 12 editors and authors, conduct team sessions and brainstorming meetings.

Adam: Wow, sounds like fascinating work. How does your Media Psychology background come in useful?

Kerstin: The knowledge that I gained during my Media Psychology studies helps me relate to our television audience. Psychological theories have taught me in what ways individuals can be affected by media. This knowledge enables me to handle media content that is broadcast very responsibly. I am very aware about my role as a media producer and content distributor. I consider ideas and features very critically and am considerate about the possible short and long term influences on people. I understand the power of the media on human psyche and behavior and I try to give a positive input within my range. In addition, I frequently engage in analysis of show ratings and viewing behavior and I try to adjust the programme content accordingly which means that I try to comprehend audience’s needs and uses. The world of media has expanded onto several interfaces and platforms. My training in media psychology helps me to keep up with the constant change of technology and the accordingly changing level of engagement. Understanding the audience’s and users’ motivation and response behind their media use makes it possible for me to offer proper and distinct informational and entertaining content that gratifies their needs.

Adam: Thank you so much Kerstin. We’re very pleased to have as part of our Media Psychology Alumni.

Kerstin: Thank you as well. Good luck with the Media Psychology programme. I highly recommend your programme to anyone who is interested in the changing field of media and its interaction with the human mind and behaviour. I had a great time.

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