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Radio News Editor

Personality type:

The lowdown

  • Overseeing and directing the work of a news team supplying news content
  • Setting and driving the news agenda
  • Having editorial control over news output

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • understand and have an instinct for what makes a good news story
  • exercise sound editorial judgement
  • have excellent writing and storytelling skills, with the ability to tailor and adapt content for different audiences and platforms
  • be able to generate original ideas, and to think creatively about how to communicate them to audiences
  • be able to work calmly effectively under pressure, react quickly, and meet tight deadlines
  • be able to lead with confidence and decisiveness
  • have excellent communication skills, complemented by diplomacy
  • be able to manage creative teams, and encourage acceptable creative risk-taking
  • be able to coach and develop talent in others
  • be able to give and receive constructive feedback, and manage performance
  • be able to encourage frank and constructive reviews of news or programme output
  • be able to manage programme budgets and resources
  • be able to maintain objectivity in order to be fair and balanced in the treatment of stories
  • have an interest in news and current affairs and good general knowledge
  • be able to learn how to use a variety of recording equipment and to operate different radio studios
  • have knowledge of the law, ethics and industry regulations around radio production, and broad experience of their application in radio and the practice of journalism
  • understand when it is necessary, and how to acquire, the relevant clearances and licences, including copyright and music clearances
  • understand the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures
  • have strong IT skills, including word processing and data handling
  • have knowledge of the radio market, different station and programme styles, and audience demographics

What does a Radio News Editor do?

Radio News Editors oversee and direct the work of a news team supplying news content for one or more different outlets, from single local radio stations to international news services.

They have day-to-day control of news output, identifying stories, and selecting and commissioning material for bulletins or programmes. They set and drive the news agenda in line with the approach and style of their station or programmes. They have editorial control over news output and ensure that professional journalistic standards are maintained, and that content complies with the law, broadcast regulation and organisational policy. They are the first point of contact for legal or editorial queries.

Radio News Editors must keep abreast of local, regional, national or international issues of relevance to their station or programme output. They should also have good contacts within the communities they serve.

It is the Radio News Editor’s role to generate original ideas and approaches to the way stories are covered. They assign work to their team, briefing and deploying Reporters and Broadcast Journalists. They usually have managerial responsibility for their team, motivating them, developing their skills and reviewing performance. They manage programme budgets, and allocate and prioritise the use of technical resources. They themselves may also report, produce or present, when required.

The job title News Editor is used throughout commercial radio. Within the BBC, some News Editors may have different job titles, including Senior Broadcast Journalist or Programme Editor.

Will I need a qualification?

To become a Radio News Editor, you will usually have worked as a Radio Broadcast Journalist or Reporter. It is also likely that you’ll have gained a recognised journalistic qualification.

You will need to acquire experience of dealing with a wide range of editorial issues. You must also consolidate your knowledge and understanding of media law and regulation, and acquire practical experience of their application.

It will also be advisable to gain management and mentoring experience, either through employers' schemes, or by gaining external qualifications, or undertaking relevant short courses.

What’s the best route in?

To become a Radio News Editor, you will have worked your way up from a successful previous career as a Radio Broadcast Journalist or Reporter . You will need considerable experience as a journalist, and must be able to demonstrate sound editorial judgement.

There are three main routes into broadcast journalism open to you:

  • traineeships offered by a few of the larger employers
  • moving into radio after first working as a print journalist
  • completing an accredited pre-entry degree or postgraduate qualification

Where might the role take me?

You could move to a larger radio station or a programme with a wider audience, or from a local to a regional or national news operation, or into television. You might also move into programme production or into a management role.

Interested? Find out more...


  • Radio Academy - industry-wide charity dedicated to promoting excellence in UK audio broadcasting and production
  • Radio Centre - industry association for UK commercial radio with a website including information and on work placements and how to get job in radio
  • BBC Academy - College of Production - information and advice on the skills required to make engaging radio, including interviews with producers in music, speech, factual and comedy about what it takes to work in radio
  • Community Media Association - the UK representative body for the community media sector, committed to promoting access to the media for people and communities
  • Student Radio Association - representative body which supports and acts on behalf of the UK student radio community 
  • Hospital Broadcasting Association - the national charity that supports and promotes hospital broadcasting in the UK 
  • BECTU - the UK media and entertainment trade union with information on pay and conditions, training, and access to individual advice on personal and contract issues
  • National Union of Journalism - the trade union for journalists in the UK and Ireland - with information on pay and conditions, training and legal advice
  • Radio Today - radio industry news site
  • Radio Now - radio station directory, listen live to many UK radio stations
  • journalism.co.uk - online journalism site including news and comment, jobs across print, broadcast and new media, a discussion forum, books and industry directory
  • journalism.org - US journalism site, Pew Research Centre's Project for Excellence in Journalism funded by a charitable trust
  • BBC College of Journalism - oversees training for BBC News staff, focusing on best practice in core skills, and providing an overview of specialist areas, legal and ethical issues, as well as a style guide


  • Broadcast - the weekly newspaper for the UK TV and radio industries
  • Media Guardian - daily industry news, trends, jobs and more


  • Creating Powerful Radio, Valerie Geller ISBN-10: 0240519280
  • Essential Radio Skills, Peter Stewart ISBN-10: 0713679131
  • The Broadcast Voice, Jenni Mills ISBN-10: 0240519396
  • Presenting on TV & Radio, Janet Trewin ISBN-10: 024051906X
  • The Broadcast Journalism Handbook, Gary Hudson & Sarah Rowlands ISBN-10: 1405824344
  • Broadcast Journalism, Sixth Edition, Andrew Boyd, Peter Stewart & Ray Alexander ISBN-10: 0240810244
  • Basic Radio Journalism, Paul Chantler & Peter Stewart ISBN-10: 0240519264
  • Broadcast News Writing, Reporting, and Producing, Fourth Edition, Ted White ISBN-10: 024080659X
  • The Universal Journalist, David Randall, Third Edition ISBN-10: 0745326552
  • Journalism Principles and Practice, Tony Harcup ISBN-10: 0761974997
  • The Elements of Journalism - What Newspeople Should Know & The Public Should Expect, Bill Kovach & Tom Rosenstiel ISBN-10: 0307346706


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