5 Steps to Becoming a Broadcast Journalist

Broadcast journalists work in television, radio and multimedia to write, produce and edit news segments. Completing a bachelor's degree program and an internship are important steps to becoming a broadcast journalist; continue reading for information on how to enter this career. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Broadcast Journalist Do?

Broadcast journalists communicate information to large audiences through the mediums of television, radio and online media on the local, national and international levels. Their job is to report on news and events accurately and without bias in order to inform the general public. This typically requires them to research stories, conduct interviews and edit recorded content. In addition to strong communication and research abilities, broadcast journalists may need technical skills related to their specific career, such as an ability to work with online and social media platforms, or a knowledge of basic television production techniques.

Step 1: Research Broadcast Journalist Duties and Education

Many aspiring journalists first gain experience by taking high school journalism classes and getting involved in their high school newspapers or news programs. Broadcast journalism is a very competitive field because of the limited number of stations in each market. Learning the duties of each role in broadcast journalism, whether in front of or behind the camera, will provide the most flexibility in a career. The trends in online video and radio are promising for broadcast journalists and may mean more jobs and opportunities in the future. The minimum education required of broadcast journalists is a bachelor's degree.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Broadcast journalists typically have a bachelor's degree in journalism, broadcast journalism or interactive media. Students take classes in production, scripts, newswriting, media studies and mass communications. In practicum courses, students frequently work in on-campus TV studios, radio stations and editing suites, where they practice all aspects of contributing to news programs. Understanding not only how to write, but how to edit, produce, research, operate cameras and perform other broadcast journalism functions will make graduates well-rounded. It's also a good idea to understand podcasting and other online broadcasting initiatives.

Step 3: Complete an Internship

Most undergraduate broadcast journalism programs include a for-credit internship component. This allows students to observe and be part of professional television and radio shows. Usually internships are unpaid, but the experience they offer is extremely valuable. After graduation, some students participate in more internships in order to sharpen their skills and build their resumes. Again, experience in online broadcast technology is important; many traditional radio and television stations now have an online presence as well.

Step 4: Find a Job

Finding a job in broadcast journalism can be tricky due to the limited amount of jobs available in each market, resulting from lower levels of readers and viewers of traditional news. Online news sources are expected to continue rising in popularity in the future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for all reporters and correspondents are predicted to decline by 8% from 2014 to 2024.

Big cities have bigger media markets and more job openings, but also attract more experienced applicants. New graduates may find it easier to secure employment in a smaller market or at a small station, according to the BLS.

Step 5: Learn New Skills

The nature of broadcast journalism is changing as more people turn to online sources of media. This means that the traditional broadcast journalism jobs may become fewer or change dramatically. Learning new skills and keeping up with popular online broadcast journalism trends and technologies is the best way to ensure future job security. Broadcast journalists should also stay apprised of trends in major media markets around the country to know when jobs become available.

Some broadcast journalists earn a master's degree to advance their knowledge base and skill set. There are programs available that are focused on reporting in the digital age, teaching you how to use the newest digital technology, and you might be able to choose a concentration in an area like online reporting, sports reporting, political reporting or international reporting.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Aspiring broadcast journalists might also want to consider related careers that require the same level of education and training. One such option is print journalism, where reporting and analysis is done through the written word. The training acquired through a media-related bachelor's degree program is also suitable for students who want to become public relations managers or other professionals working in media and promotions.

Students who are more interested in writing-based degree programs could also consider becoming scriptwriters who provide entertaining content for a wide range of purposes, such as for television shows or radio broadcasts. Another possible career path is becoming an editor for written publications, like magazines and newspapers, a position which requires impeccable grammar skills and a strong grasp of the English language.

All of these positions could expect comparable or slightly more favorable employment growth.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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