How Do You Become a Broadcast Journalist?

Broadcast JournalistIf you’d like to become a broadcast journalist, the connections you make and the experience you gain are almost as important as your education. This is a very competitive field, but diligence and hard work can pay off for those who are determined to make a career as a broadcast journalist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field are expected to decline by 15 percent by 2022, largely due to decreased advertising revenue. However, that is not to say it’s impossible to break into this field; new multimedia opportunities for journalists will make new jobs available in the ever-changing media landscape. Read on for tips on how to break into this exciting field, including the education, experience, and skills that you’ll need to succeed.

Education Requirements

In most cases, broadcast journalists earn a bachelor’s degree in either communications or journalism. Because this field is so competitive, choosing a top-ranked journalism program can increase your chances of getting noticed by potential employers. Look for a program that’s accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism
and Mass Communications. You should also choose a school with a very strong internship program, particularly if you’re interested in becoming a journalist in a major market. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, consider attending a master’s program in broadcast journalism.

Work Experience

Internship experience at a local television station is one of the most important things you can do if you’re interested in a career in broadcast journalism. As a student, be willing to start small, make connections, and get your foot in the door. Proving your worth as an unpaid intern may eventually lead to a paid position down the road. And even if you aren’t in front of the camera right away, any job you can get in the field is a step toward that goal. In addition to internship experience, spend as much time as you can in whatever related extracurricular activities your school has to offer; a campus with a television studio is ideal, but a radio station or newspaper will also provide valuable experience.

Building the Skills

Since┬áthis is such a competitive field, it’s important to spend time building the skills you need beyond what you get in your classroom and work experience. Key areas of expertise you should strive to perfect include writing and reporting news stories; producing high quality audio and video reports, including editing and production work; building persistence, communications skills, and stamina; and finding a true ethical and objective foundation on which to base your reporting.

Related Resource: Business Reporter

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for broadcast news reporters is $35,870. However, this salary tends to increase as you move into larger media markets, which comes only with years of experience. Learn more about the life of a reporter and how to become a broadcast journalist from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.