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Broadcast journalist

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Broadcast journalists research and present news stories and factual programmes on TV, radio and the internet.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements. You could:

  • do a degree or postgraduate course in broadcast journalism or a related subject
  • join an employer’s training scheme
  • move into broadcast journalism from print journalism
  • start in local radio, before moving into regional or national TV

Paid or unpaid work experience will be very helpful. You could get this by working, volunteering or getting a placement in community, hospital or student radio or TV.

An online showreel will also be useful, to show potential employers examples of your work.

The Broadcast Journalism Training Council has a list of accredited degrees and postgraduate courses in broadcast journalism. 

The Community Media Association, Hospital Broadcasting Association and RadioCentre have more information on radio volunteering  

Large broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements, insight and talent days. 

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • good writing and research skills
  • confidence and a clear speaking voice
  • calmness under pressure and the ability to meet tight deadlines
  • a creative approach with the ability to improvise when necessary
  • an understanding of what makes a good news story
  • a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail

3. What you'll do

You’ll research and report on UK and international stories. 

You might specialise in a particular type of news, like political or sports reporting. In regional TV and radio, you’ll focus on local news.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • following story 'leads', or generating story ideas
  • researching stories, using the internet, archives and databases
  • writing scripts, and website or social media content
  • preparing and conducting live and pre-recorded interviews
  • presenting in TV or radio studios or on location, and recording voiceovers for recorded material
  • asking questions at briefings and press conferences
  • directing a small camera or sound crew, or operating recording equipment yourself

You could also work as a critic producing book, food or programme reviews.

In many jobs you’ll be part of a production team, including other journalists, researchers, editors, broadcast assistants and producers. 

In small commercial radio stations, you might run a newsroom single-handed.

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000 to £19,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £45,000

Highly Experienced: £80,000

Freelance rates can vary depending on your experience and track record. 

The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information on current pay guidelines.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours could be long and irregular. You might need to work extra hours, evenings and weekends to meet deadlines or cover a breaking story.

You’ll work in an office, a TV studio or from home, if freelance.

You’ll spend much of your time out-and-about covering stories. Outside broadcasts take place in all weather conditions. 

The work could involve local, national or international travel, often at very short notice.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a studio-based presenter or a special news correspondent. 

You could also move into programme making, producing, or management.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018