Broadcast Journalist

What you do in the job?

Broadcast Journalism is the collection, verification and analysis of information about events which affect people, and the publication of that information in a fair, accurate, impartial and balanced way to fulfil the public's right to know in a democratic society. This involves a variety of media including television, radio, the internet and wireless devices. Broadcast Journalists working in television work in a variety of genres including news, current affairs, or documentaries. They may be employed by broadcasting companies, or work on a freelance basis.

The role of a Broadcast Journalist is to turn information into pictures and sound, both reporting and producing live and/or recorded packages as well as researching, preparing and reading bulletins. You will be responsible for generating content from a wide range of subjects. You will be encouraging new contributors and developing their ideas as well as your own. You are likely to be working as part of a team, generating your own stories and bringing on board new ideas.
You will be initiating and producing a wide range of news and current affairs material and will be expected to carry out in-depth research to a broad brief, write material for programme scripts, bulletins etc and at all times exercise excellent editorial judgement and adhere to legal and good practice guidelines.
You may carry out interviews and reporting duties, in both recorded and live situations, in a studio or perhaps on location. You can expect to be involved in originating and developing programme ideas to support forward planning of material and future programmes and provide briefings for reporters, camera crews and other resources staff and contributors.
You will need to operate broadcast equipment: in radio, portable recording equipment, self-operating outside broadcasting vehicles and studio equipment in television, to direct camera crews on pre-recorded and live coverage, to oversee editing and operate gallery equipment.
You may be responsible for programme budgets, ensuring effective use of money and resources, supervise the work of Broadcast Assistants and most certainly, as a Broadcast Journalist you would need to develop and maintain local and perhaps national contacts and fulfil a public relations role.

What qualities are required?

You will need to be an experienced journalist with strong editorial judgement and organisational skills, with a first class news awareness and judgement. You must be able to work as part of a team and you will also be able to work with minimal supervision, be brimming with ideas, and a creative self-starter. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are a must, including skills and style when it comes to interviewing.
One of the key qualities is a voice for broadcasting, together with knowledge of radio production techniques and broadcast equipment.
Of course, a passion for radio, current affairs and a real grasp of the subjects that interest audiences are a must.

Key Skills include:
excellent verbal and written communication;
ability to work under pressure, to tight deadlines;
excellent interviewing and listening techniques;
excellent content editing skills with basic picture and sound editing abilities;
precise attention to detail and advanced analytical skills;
excellent organisational abilities, initiative and problem solving skills;
ability to see the broader picture and focus in on any niche angle the programme requires;
self management abilities combined with effective team working, and self-discipline skills;
diplomacy and sensitivity when working with members of the public and colleagues;
personality, and excellent interpersonal skills at all levels;
ability to build a rapport with interviewees without losing objectivity;
current 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;
knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures;

How you start and where you can go with it?

Broadcast Journalists should have successfully completed a BJTC accredited Undergraduate degree, a Postgraduate Diploma or MA in Broadcast, Bi-Media, Multi-Media, TV or Online Journalism. IT and word processing qualifications are also required.

Broadcast Journalists may begin their careers working as Researchers or Newsroom Assistants, progressing to become On Screen Reporters, Special Correspondents, News Presenters, and Bulletin or Programme Editors. They may also move into Programme Production or Management roles, or become Journalists, Newspaper Reporters or Writers. Some Broadcast Journalists may also start their careers working as Newspaper or other Print Press Journalists.

As a Broadcasting Journalist, jobs are available across a range of functions, requiring different skills, knowledge and experience. Initially, a recognised journalistic qualification or substantial practical experience in journalism (say 3 years plus) is a starting point. A special interest, for example in sport, entertainment, fashion, health, arts etc, with a good all round knowledge of current affairs would also support your career as a Broadcast Journalist.

Image: Edward R. Murrow
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