The job of the broadcast journalist is an exciting and important role. Broadcast journalists can often work for a number of stations, either locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. Other journalists may work from home and will send over their finished pieces to the station and to other employers.
Some stations may specify between broadcast journalists, journalists and reporters and will organise the career ladder accordingly. However, these roles are usually quite similar in most jobs. For those that do have differences, broadcast journalists may be expected to plan out news stories, researching them, briefing reporters and presenters, editing and producing material created by others.
Broadcast journalists in radio will need to be able to identify, research and present stories for their audiences. You will more than likely be expected to present on air. This can include voicing news bulletins or features, presenting new bulletins and recording interviews.
These journalists will need to generate ideas, conduct research, determining the news value of stories and pitching and presenting news items to editors for consideration or approval. In terms of shifts, broadcast journalists may be required to work nights, weekends and holidays. It may also require you to travel at any hour of the day or night.
Research is essential to the role of the broadcast journalist. You will need to use your own collection of contacts along with background articles and relevant audio archive material to get a full idea of the story you want to present. Sources are essential. The use of information and image sources through libraries, archives, the internet and research documents will greatly add to your stories.
Journalists also need to find suitable interviewees and establish a suitable location for interviews, if they will be conducted in person. In advance of the interview, they will need to prep questions and where possible, brief interviewees in advance.
Interviews will add to background material and what the journalist reports on. Essentially, radio pieces need to illustrate a story through sound.
However, broadcast journalists are now expected to gather photos or video footage for the station website as well. They may even need to create blog posts about their stories.
Whatever content that is produced, it will need to be free of defamation and copyright material. Having an understanding of this as a journalist is essential.
Like any job in radio, broadcast journalists will need to be able to use a radio studio. They will need to be able to record audio both in the studio and on location. Editing the recorded material using editing software is essential.
The content must meet the exact time and duration of each item, as it will have been decided on beforehand. When presenting something on air, what you will say needs to be precisely timed.
To become a broadcast journalist, there are a number of routes you can take. You can apply to a radio station traineeship which will give you hands-on practical experience. You could also move into radio as a print journalist or you can take up a degree in the field.
Stations will want to see that you have a genuine interest in radio and experience will stick with you.