TV Broadcast Journalist
- Personality type:
- Collecting, verifying and analysing information about news and events
- Presenting that information in an accurate, impartial and balanced way
Is this role right for me?
To do this role, you will need to:
- have an inquisitive mind, complemented by empathy and patience
- have an instinct for what makes a successful news story
- have good general knowledge, including and understanding of governmental and social structures
- understand programme markets and audience dynamics
- possess excellent verbal and written communication skills
- be able to work under pressure, to tight deadlines
- have excellent interviewing and listening techniques
- have excellent content editing skills, with basic picture and sound editing abilities
- be skilled in the use of editing software for editing and the internet for research and web journalism
- pay close attention to detail and have advanced analytical skills
- possess excellent organisational abilities, initiative and problem-solving skills
- be able both to see the broader picture and to focus in on any niche angle the programme requires
- have self-management abilities combined with effective team working
- be diplomatic and sensitive when working with members of the public and colleagues and able to build a rapport with interviewees without losing objectivity
- have a thorough knowledge of the relevant legislation, regulations, and associated procedures, including libel and contempt, copyright, data protection, public liability, etc., and how to comply with regulatory requirements
- have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures
What does a TV Broadcast Journalist do?
Broadcast Journalists generate ideas and assess the value and accuracy of ideas and information from other sources, before presenting items for consideration by Editors, Commissioners, or other decision makers.
Broadcast Journalists working in television work in a variety of genres including news, current affairs, or documentaries. They collect, verify and analyse information about events which affect people, and present that information in an accurate, impartial and balanced way to fulfil the public's right to know in a democratic society.
They carry out thorough research into all programme ideas, including identifying: suitable interviewees and locations; relevant background and illustrative footage and locations; visual materials, archive picture and sound footage; articles and features. They should know how to access and use all significant information and image sources to this end.
In collaboration with technical resource staff, they make sure that they are properly equipped to record all the required interviews and other picture and sound materials. They prepare questions and, if possible, brief interviewees in advance. They conduct interviews on camera, and suggest suitable illustrative and background shots and material to enhance the story, to the Director, Camera Operator, Sound Recordist, or other relevant personnel.
Once the material has been recorded or acquired from other sources, they then either work closely with the Editor or prepare a detailed editing brief to put together the finished programme or segment. For quick turnaround items they may edit some materials themselves, using suitable software. They must ensure that they meet the duration requirements of each programme or segment, and work to precise deadlines.
They may also be required to present precisely-timed live on-air links into previously edited packages. When working as news readers they must be able to research, write and present news bulletins, working to precise timings and tight deadlines.
When working on news items, they must be prepared to travel, sometimes long distances, at any hour of the day or night, to gather the relevant information.
Will I need a qualification?
Almost all broadcast journalists have a degree, so it would stand you in good stead to have one, in any subject.
What’s the best route in?
The three main routes you can take into broadcast journalism are:
- the pre-entry route: entrants join a broadcast organisation after completing a degree or postgraduate course in broadcast journalism. Most courses last one academic year and are accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC). Subjects may include broadcast, bi-media, multimedia, TV or online journalism.
- The direct entry route: new entrants are recruited onto an employers' training scheme, for example with the BBC or Sky, directly from university. Competition for such places is fierce.
- Newspaper background: you could move into radio or television after gaining experience in newspapers.
Where might the role take me?
From a Broadcast Journalist role, you could move into programme production or management roles, or become journalists, newspaper reporters or writers.