How to Become a Television Journalist in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a television journalist. Learn about education and training requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Television Journalist Do?

The role of a television journalist is to keep the public abreast of news and events taking place in their community, state, nation or the world. Television journalists must be willing to work long and irregular hours to conduct interviews, gather research and investigate stories.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Broadcast journalism, journalism, mass communications, related disciplines
Training Required Internships, fellowships or other in-field training preferred
Key Responsibilities Gather newsworthy information, present information via news broadcasts, keep current with what interests the public
Job Growth (2014-2024) -13% (for all broadcast news analysts)*
-8% (for all reporters and correspondents)*
Median Salary (2015) $65,530 (for all broadcast news analysts)*
$37,720 (for all reporters and correspondents)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Television Journalist?

A television (tv) journalist is a professional who gathers newsworthy information and presents it via television broadcasts. Newsworthy information is an account of activities or facts that are of general public interest. As a tv journalist, you may serve in one of various roles, including a television news analyst, reporter or correspondent.

Step 1: Obtain a College Degree

An undergraduate college degree is usually the minimum educational requirement for a tv journalist. Common associate and baccalaureate programs may offer degrees in broadcast journalism, journalism, mass communications or other related disciplines.

An associate's curriculum in broadcast journalism may cover broadcast writing and diction for broadcast. A bachelor's program in broadcast journalism typically offers advanced training in news reporting, media research techniques and multiplatform news delivery. While graduate studies are available at some schools, they aren't required for most entry-level tv journalist jobs.

Step 2: Get Practical Field Training

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers prefer those who also have practical field training prior to employment (www.bls.gov). This can be acquired through internships, fellowships and other broadcast fieldwork opportunities provided through your school, trade association and journalistic media outlets/companies.

Step 3: Acquire Professional Employment

As a tv journalist, you may function as a tv news analyst, sometimes referred to as news anchor or newscaster, where you would primarily work in a studio setting, covering news stories live at a studio station desk or through videotaped programming. If you serve as a tv reporter, you could cover different types of information, ranging from news to celebrity sightings, with many of your broadcasts being recorded at the scene of an event location.

The stories that you would cover as a TV correspondent would generally be more specialized or exclusive than those of a reporter; however, they would typically be televised at stations in pre-assigned locations, such as foreign cities. The BLS reports that in 2014, the annual median wage for broadcast news analysts was $65,530 while the median salary for reporters and correspondents $37,720.

Step 4: Join a Trade Association

Joining a trade association can give you access to a variety of benefits, including professional networking opportunities. A few of the many organizations available to you include the National Association of Broadcasters, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Step 5: Stay Current

Staying up-to-date on industry technologies, techniques, protocols and legislative measures is crucial to your daily activities as a tv journalist. While some employers provide industry updates and continuing education, they're also available through trade associations.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A public relations specialist is a professional who helps companies maintain a positive image in the community. They accomplish this by using various forms of media to help create a favorable public perception of the company. They often work long hours to attend community activities that may include weekends and holidays.

A technical writer must have the writing abilities to turn complex technical information into a reader-friendly format. They should have the expertise to prepare how-to-guides, instruction journals and other technical material for a company or organization. A bachelor 's degree is often required to enter the field.

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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