SOP for Library Science/Archives
More than a year ago, I finished my Master of Arts in Media Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. As I neared the end, I began to think back upon what parts of my M.A. stood out for me and what that meant for my academic future. At the time, I started to realize that while what I enjoyed most was the opportunity to research television history, I did not necessarily want to continue that research in a Ph.D. program. Instead, I started thinking about the possibility of a career in archives, particularly for moving images. I found the idea of becoming an archivist, assisting people in accessing various historical records, and curating media materials for public consumption not only exciting, but also much more in line with my interests. After completing my Master's thesis and mulling over the possibility of this career path, I finally decided that I definitely wanted to pursue a career in Moving Image Archiving.
However, what drew me into the history of moving images, particularly television, in the first place? Around the time I started my Master's, I began to notice an interesting thing occurring in television advertising. Paid product placement and integration was constantly increasing, causing the line between program content and commercials to blur more and more. The practice has become so pervasive that some shows such as 30 Rock have even turned to self-reflexively acknowledging that companies have paid them to feature these products. Though the popular press has treated this as a new phenomenon caused by the rise in use of DVR technologies and online streaming, television has a rich history of converging sponsorship with programming going back to its inception. Thus, my frustrations with how people have talked about current instances of product placement led me to pursue historical research for my master's thesis on product placement and integration. I realized the importance of historical context when talking about both past and present media, and so this became the driving force in my decision to pursue a career in archives. I want to ensure that these film and television materials will be available for future researchers, so that we may not only better understand past media texts, but also those of the present and future.
During my time as a master's student at the University of Texas, I also had the privilege to work as part of the staff of the online journal Flow. As a column editor, I had the opportunity to work directly with various media studies scholars publishing their work on the website. Most important to me, though, was my work as one of the coordinators for Flow Conference 2010. Along with a small group of my fellow graduate students, we were able to put together a successful media conference attended by scholars from across the country and around the world, all of whom were ready to partake in the academic roundtable discussions that generally set apart Flow. The roundtables touched upon various aspects of television, both past and present, and helped flesh out ideas for current research in media studies.
However, I am ready to move on from the Media Studies field to pursue a career in archives, and I believe the XXX program in the YYY School at ZZZ University will be the ideal program to guide me along the way. Of course, the program's focus on moving images is what drew me into first considering it, but its knowledgeable faculty and many resources are what let me know that this would be a great fit for me. Specifically, I look forward to taking courses such as Television: History and Culture, Video Preservation, and Curating Moving Images, which I believe are especially relevant to the work I want to do. That the school is located in City is also enticing to me, as I know I will be able to gain experience through internships that are located in the city and connected to the program. My goal is ultimately to become an archivist in this field, hopefully giving me the opportunity to archive and curate various moving image materials for future researchers. I know that by obtaining this second Master's degree in your program and combining it with my previous education in Media Studies, I will become a well-rounded individual and will be able to succeed in this profession.