Media critics publish opinion pieces about all kinds of media.
There is so much media out there that it can be difficult for an ordinary person to sift through it and decide what they would like to experience. Luckily, media critics are devoted to breaking down all kinds of media, from independent films and underground albums to newly released novels and live performance shows. Ordinarily, critics focus on newly released work, which can alert new audiences to their existence. They may publish work online or on paper, where it will provide readers with an informed viewpoint that may be a deciding factor in how they experience the media in question.
Of course, media criticism is deeper than simply saying "this was good and I liked it"; readers depend on critics to hold nuanced, thoughtful opinions that draw from all kinds of interesting sources. A well-crafted critique evaluates a piece of media as a whole, examines its elements as they relate to contemporary culture, history, or existing theory, and identifies its aesthetic influences. This type of work is valuable to both people looking to better understand a piece they have encountered and people looking for something to enjoy.
Work as a media critic may include...
- Publishing book, film, art, or performance reviews
- Taking notes while consuming media
- Writing and revising critical work
- Drawing comparisons to other familiar media
- Working to strict deadlines
Most critics work for media companies, publications, or periodicals. They may submit individual pieces of in-depth critique to literary and arts journals, contribute to blogs, or run independent websites where they post critical work. Much of a critic's actual writing tends to occur at home, though they are often required to attend events such as gallery openings, film premieres, or concerts. Criticism of television and writing rarely involves public appearances. Critic jobs can be full time, but many are part-time or contribution based. Finding regular work as a critic depends on a combination of one's writing portfolio, professional network, audience response, and credentials.
The qualifications for working as a critic vary by the type of media one hopes to critique. Art critics, for example, usually hold graduate degrees in art history or practice, which involve a great deal of intensive study and academic writing. Film critics are as likely to be scholars of the cinematic arts as they are film buffs who have clocked more screen time than formal education. The experience a critic brings to the table, be it academic or enthusiastic, comes second to their writing ability and the respect the public has for their opinions. The best critics are skilled writers who are able to connect with their readers and who know where they stand upon encountering new media. While having a Bachelor's degree in something like journalism or media studies can make it easier to land a job as a critic, most employers are primarily concerned with a writer's portfolio. Media buffs who independently publish opinions and have a dedicated readership can be valuable to media companies looking to expand their reach; it all comes down to whether someone thinks you have something people will want to hear.
If you're an avid consumer of media and want to share your thoughts with the world, consider a career as a media critic.
The Hollywood Critics Association brings together a passionate group of critics to represent the voices of a new era in Hollywood.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association is a membership collective representing television, radio, and online critics who serve as a primary source of information for entertainment consumers.
The Television Critics Association rrepresents journalists who cover television for publications across the U.S. and are considered experts in the industry.
The African American Film Critics Association actively reviews and spotlights cinema, with a particular emphasis on film and TV highlighting the Black experience.
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists seeks to amplify the voices of women critics, provide a platform for women's perspectives on film, and support work by and about women.
The National Book Critics Circle honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature.
The Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers seeks to promote excellence in literary criticism and scholarship, working to ensure that literature thrives in both scholarly and creative environments.
The International Association of Art Critics United States branch is committed to elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of art.