What do Researchers do?

Researchers work across all genres of television production, including news, sport, current affairs, documentaries and factual programs, light entertainment, children's, situation comedies, soaps or serial dramas, and one-off dramas. They originate or develop program ideas, drawing on their knowledge and understanding of industry requirements, and present their findings to decision makers. They are also fact checkers and 'brief' writers for onscreen presenters. They must understand, and work within, relevant legislation and regulations. They may be employed by broadcasters, or work on a freelance basis.

What is the job?
Researchers may be briefed by producers or other decision makers about program ideas and carry out further development. Alternatively, they may produce original program ideas for consideration by producers, broadcasters, production companies, or other decision makers. They identify relevant data, contributors, locations or archive material etc. collate and assess information from various sources, and ensure that legal, compliance and copyright requirements are met.

During preliminary telephone and/or face to face interviews, they assess contributors' potential suitability for inclusion in each program according to its genre and format. They check contributors' availability, and arrange for their appearance within time and budgetary limits. They may also be required to identify location requirements from scripts or program outlines, and assess locations for suitability and cost, taking various factors into account including the need for any permissions and licenses. They identify and select suitable sources for archive footage, still pictures or audio materials, within time and cost limits. They must present all their findings to decision makers clearly, concisely and coherently, both in writing and verbally.

Researchers may contribute to the development of scripts or other written content by writing drafts, or briefing others who write so that they can deliver what is required. They may be asked to check final written materials for accuracy and suggest amendments in a helpful and constructive manner. Before production commences, Researchers must identify, negotiate fees for, and conclude copyright clearances and legal issues relating to all brought in materials used on shoots, including archive materials, intellectual property or music. They must ensure that all relevant broadcast territories are covered. They monitor usage throughout the production process. Production assistants (PAs) also log usage and timings after transmission. During production, Researchers arrange transport for contributors to and from locations or studios. They greet contributors and brief them before recording commences, support them as necessary, and escort them from the studio or location once shooting is completed.

Researchers may also be required to prepare production materials for external use, including fact sheets, pamphlets, books and booklets to accompany productions, and publicity material such as production billings, press releases, related websites, and text pages.

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