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How to become a Broadcast Journalist

broadcast journalist careers

What does a Broadcast Journalist do?

Broadcast journalists are responsible for the research, writing and editing of material for broadcast in a variety of factual, news and current affairs programmes on television and radio and, increasingly, the Internet.

The work can include generating and researching stories, interviewing people, attending press conferences, gathering appropriate images and sounds, writing up, editing and packaging stories and reports and presenting in radio, studio or on location.

The majority of broadcast journalists start by working in the newsroom before becoming reporters. With suitable experience they may then move on to becoming general or special correspondents or presenters, which could sometimes involve overseas postings.

Multi-skilling is becoming increasingly important, with some staff working as both journalists and presenters.

Journalists working in commercial radio may run a newsroom single-handed. In television they will be part of a world-wide newsgathering operation.

What's the working environment like working as a Broadcast Journalist?

Broadcast journalists need to be flexible about their working hours. They typically work long, irregular hours, including nights, weekends and public holidays.

They are usually based in busy open plan offices and may travel throughout the UK and abroad.

A driving licence is essential.

What does it take to become a Broadcast Journalist?

To be a broadcast journalist you need:

  • to be highly motivated and able to demonstrate a developed and critical interest in news and current affairs
  • to be able write clearly and concisely, and to speak clearly and distinctly for broadcasting
  • research, networking and interviewing skills
  • the ability to understand relevant technology, to direct crews and operate some equipment
  • storytelling skills and the ability to address an audience
  • knowledge of ethical standards and the law relating to journalism, including copyright
  • the ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • to be inquisitive, with an ‘eye for a story’ and an interest in people and events
  • to be confident, patient, able to face criticism and have a good memory
  • an awareness of health and safety is desirable, in order to carry out risk assessments on location.

Broadcast Journalist Career Opportunities

Employers in the television sector include national and regional television networks, cable and satellite networks, independent production companies, and international news agencies. Digitalisation has resulted in an increase in the number of channels, with some dedicated to 24-hour news coverage.

Radio employers include the national and regional stations, local and national commercial stations and community radio stations.

Jobs in television journalism are oversubscribed and competition for these is intense. Entrants usually have experience of other media. There are few permanent positions; most broadcast journalists are employed on short-term contracts.

There are more posts for local journalists on regional stations, especially in radio; broadcast journalists often start out in this area, where they are able to build up the experience necessary for a possible move into television journalism.

Senior journalists may be involved in editorial decision making, with responsibility for financial and organisational control and deployment of resources, and progression to management roles may be an option.

Some journalists use their experience to move into related job roles, such as television producing.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Broadcast Journalist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Skillset
Prospect House
80-110 New Oxford Street
London
WC1A 1HB
www.skillset.org

Skillset Careers
Tel: 08080 300 900 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Tel: 0808 100 8094 for Scotland
www.skillset.org/careers

Broadcast Journalism Training Council
18 Miller's Close
Rippingale
near Bourne
Lincolnshire
PE10 0TH
Tel: 01778 440025
www.bjtc.org.uk

National Council for the Training of Journalists
Latton Bush Centre
Southern Way
Harlow
Essex
CM18 7BL
Tel: 01279 430009
www.nctj.com

National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
Headland House
308-312 Gray's Inn Road
London
WC1X 8DP
Tel: 020 7278 7916
www.nuj.org.uk

NUJ Training
www.nujtraining.org.uk

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
373-377 Clapham Road
London
SW9 9BT
www.bectu.org.uk

Radio Academy
5 Market Place
London
W1W 8AE
Tel: 020 7255 2010
www.radioacademy.org

Commercial Radio Companies Association
The Radiocentre
77 Shaftsbury Avenue
London
W1D 5DU
Tel: 020 7306 2603
www.crca.co.uk

Community Media Association
The Workstation
15 Paternoster Row
Sheffield
S1 2BX
Tel: 0114 279 5219
www.commedia.org.uk