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Career profile: Broadcast journalist

broadcast journalist studioThink you could put together a good news story? Or maybe you would do a great job in front of the camera? Read on to find out more about the varied role of a broadcast journalist.

A what?

A broadcast journalist researches and reports new stories on TV, radio or the web. They are generally employed by a service provider such as Channel 4 or the BBC, although later in their career they may decide to work freelance.

On the job

The job is extremely varied, and every day will be different. The role can encompass anything from chasing up new leads for stories to scripting radio news, presenting in front of the camera, managing a production team, or scoping out the best location to film.

Working with a national broadcaster you can expect to report on news from all over the UK or the world, and may well be asked to specialise in a particular area e.g. politics, sport or health issues. If you work at a local level, on a local radio station, for instance, you can expect to be reporting on more varied local news stories.

Course entry requirements

To become a broadcast journalist you will be expected to have a degree, as well as three good A-levels or equivalent Scottish Highers. Although it is not usually necessary for your degree to be in journalism, if you do pick something different as a first degree (such as history) you will also need to do a postgraduate qualification. Many colleges and universities offer straightforward journalism MA courses, which take one year to complete if you study full-time, and two years if you study part-time.

What is the training like?

To get a foot in the door, you may need to do a short period of unpaid work experience. Many companies will give you a chance to learn about the industry during this time, and it will look good on your CV. Generally during training you will be expected to do fairly menial tasks such as researching stories or shadowing journalists in the studio.
Training and starting salaries are usually between £15 and £18,000, rising up to between £25 and £40,000 once fully qualified. Many broadcast journalists choose to go freelance, as they can earn up to £100,000 per year.

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