How to Become a Broadcast Journalist

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How to Become a Broadcast Journalist: Career Guide

To become a broadcast journalist, you will first need to determine what you want out of a career, and what you are willing to put into it. If you are interested in a career that allows you to be in front of a camera, interact with people from all walks of life, and you have an interest in current events, you may be well suited for a career as a broadcast journalist.

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to become a broadcast journalist. We've also included helpful information for a broadcast journalist career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Broadcast Journalist

If you want to become a broadcast journalist, having a proper education can be crucial to your future success. You should begin the process of obtaining your education by choosing a university or college with a great communications or journalism program. You’ll want to select a program that offers a wide variety of communications and journalism courses, and one that offers you an opportunity to connect with professional broadcast journalists. 

 

Once you enter the communications or journalism program, make sure that you select your elective courses carefully. As a journalist, having a broad knowledge base in a variety of subjects will be extremely valuable; choosing the right elective courses will ensure that you exposed to different subjects that you may be writing on one day.

 

It should be noted that there are not standard educational requirements to become a broadcast journalist, although most employers prefer journalists who have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. However, some employers may hire applicants who have a degree in a related subject within the liberal arts or humanities, such as English or political science, if they have a sufficient amount of relevant work experience.

 

 

 

Broadcast Journalist Job Description

Broadcast journalists are responsible for gathering and reporting news related to current affairs. They are expected to present this information in a balanced and objective fashion through factual radio, online and television news programs, as well as documentaries.

 

 

Broadcast Journalist Job Duties

• Generate ideas for stories and features

• Pitch ideas to editors

• Follow leads from the general public, the police, press conferences, news agencies and other sources

• Gather supporting information for story by conducting research

• Identify potential interviewees and brief them regarding the story

• Prepare interview questions and conduct live or recorded interviews

• Provide crews with directorial input, such as what to record

• Prepare and present material on air

• Develop and maintain local contacts

 

 

Experience Needed to Become a Broadcast Journalist

Broadcast journalism is a highly competitive field, and many candidates don’t stand out from the others. Above all else, those who hire broadcast journalists look for candidates with experience. A great way to get experience while you are a student is to get involved with the student newspaper, radio or television station on campus; this can prove to be invaluable experience if you want to become a broadcast journalist.

 

Another great way to gain experience for your future broadcast journalism career is to volunteer with a community journalism group. Not every group will be interested in having you help out, even if it’s for free, but for those who are lucky enough to be accepted it can prove to be incredible career experience and will pay off in the future.

 

One way to gain experience and get your foot in the door with a broadcast news organization or production company is by getting an entry-level job, such as working as a runner and researcher and then working your way up. As with many professions, once you're in a job, you become exposed to more and more opportunities, so just keep plugging away until you get in.

 

Success Tip: Make sure broadcast journalism is something you really want to do. You will be in heavy competition for jobs with people whose main life goal is to become a broadcast journalist.

 

 

Skills Needed to Become a Broadcast Journalist

In addition to the proper training and education, there are certain skills that broadcast journalists need to become successful, such as:

 

• Strong interviewing skills

• A knack for thinking of or recognizing interesting stories

• A methodical approach to compiling information

• Basic knowledge in a diverse range of political and social topics

• A keen interest in current events and developments

• Being comfortable, composed and calm around people, microphones and cameras

• Must be very persistent, objective, creative and resourceful

• Must be able to cope with a fast-paced and highly competitive job

• Must be able to clearly, logically and coherently present facts and opinions

 

 

 

 

How to Become More Employable as a Broadcast Journalist

If you want to become a broadcast journalist, you need to start by getting a job. Before you can get a job, you need an interview. Here are some tips to help you land interviews and jobs in broadcast journalism.

 

Know your motivation: If you go into an interview, and the only things you have to offer are your looks, your degree and your “gift of gab”, it could be a long time before you get a job. The news isn’t about you; it’s about what’s going on in your community, your country, or the world. If you like to know what’s going on and help people find out about it, then you’ve got the right mindset.

 

Learn a second language: Having knowledge of other languages broadens your horizons. You are also more likely to be able to travel to different regions independently if you speak the language of that region.

 

Make relevant contacts: If you want to be a music journalist, start talking to bands and their managers. Attend relevant trade shows and networking events to get your name out there.

 

Join a journalism organization: Many journalism associations and organizations offer free student membership. Consider joining one of them if you're eligible. It can be a good way to keep informed on industry issues, news and events!

 

Consider a graduate degree in journalism: This may open the doors to journalism jobs that might not otherwise open.

 

 

Who Hires Broadcast Journalists?

The following types of organizations typically hire broadcast journalists:

 

• Local and national television stations and networks

• Radio stations

• Online publications (covering a wide variety of topics)


 

Broadcast Journalist Salary

The salary of broadcast journalists can vary widely, depending on where they work, which medium they work within (such as radio, television, newspaper, etc.), their reputation, their level of education and experience, and many other variables.

 

Broadcast Journalist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Journalists occupational group earned on average from $22.07 to $28.23 an hour.

 

Broadcast Journalist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts occupational group earned a median salary of $36,000 per year.

 

 

Broadcast Journalist Jobs

Our job board below has "Broadcast Journalist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Career Advancement for Broadcast Journalists

It can be a daunting task to find full-time employment as a broadcast journalist right out of school due to the competitive nature of broadcast journalism jobs. Many journalists start out by working entry-level jobs, or temporary and contract positions.

 

Once a prospective broadcast journalist has more experience, they may qualify for regular, full-time employment. With further experience, they may move to a larger station. Broadcast journalists with a significant amount of experience or competence may advance become news anchors or producers in broadcast media.

 

 

Careers Related to Broadcast Journalist

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Broadcast Journalist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Foreign Correspondent

Investigative Reporter

Journalist

News Anchor

Photojournalist

Political Reporter

 

 

References: Broadcast Journalist Career

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a broadcast journalist.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Services website: alis.alberta.ca

Society of Professional journalists website: spj.org

The Guardian website: careers.guardian.co.uk

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Broadcast Journalist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Broadcast Journalist can be found on our Journalism Scholarships page.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Becoming a Broadcast Journalist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a Broadcast Journalist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 


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