Journalist - Radio/Television
Radio and television journalists report on news items. They respond to a story at very short notice and need to have the material ready by a deadline.
Also known as
- Broadcast Journalist
- News Reporter, Radio/Television
- Radio/Television Journalist
- Reporter, Radio/Television
- Television Journalist
- TV Journalist
Video: - Shriti: Journalist - Radio/Television
Video: - Steve: Senior Broadcast Journalist
Radio and television journalists report on news and other items of interest. Ideas for news and features are found by monitoring other media and following up leads provided by specialist staff, local contacts and members of the public.
Journalists in local radio, in BBC and commercial broadcasting companies, gain a wide range of experience. They conduct and edit interviews; they also research and write bulletins and reports.
Journalists employed in national television and radio are either reporters, who go out and collect stories, or sub-editors (also known as writers), who write bulletins in the newsroom.
Writers work alongside technical and production staff. They organise maps, graphics, captions and scripts that accompany reporters' stories. However, these roles are now more blurred, due to advances in digital technology.
The programme editor decides which news items to cover and sends a reporter (sometimes accompanied by a technical and camera crew) to collect more information. Reporters assess the event to be covered, collect and present background information and interview key people.
Reports may be broadcast 'live', but if they are recorded, the reporter makes detailed notes to assist with editing. Reporters often work with the editor during the editing process.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a television or radio journalist, you need:
- To be able to write in an objective, clear, direct style, using language appropriate to the audience.
- To be able to interview people effectively.
- Listening skills.
- To be curious and inquisitive.
- Commitment and stamina, to deal with pressure and deadlines.
- To be able to generate ideas and source and research stories.
- The ability to work as part of a team.
If you are presenting your own material, a clear voice is important.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Radio/television journalists earn in the range of £18,000 - £25,500, rising to £32,000 - £41,000 with experience. Successful, senior journalists can receive a salary in advance of £50,000.
Hours of work
Radio/television journalists often work long, irregular hours, with early starts, late finishes and weekend work.
Where could I work?
Opportunities for radio/television journalists occur regionally in towns and cities throughout the UK, and in major broadcasting production centres such as London, Birmingham, Manchester/Salford and Leeds.
Most radio/television journalists work for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 or Sky and may be employed as a permanent employee or on a short-term contract.
Opportunities occur for experienced radio/television journalists to work overseas as foreign correspondents.
Self-employed freelance work is widespread in radio/television journalism.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised
Entry Routes and Training
Many entrants have previous journalism experience, eg, from a college newspaper or hospital radio, or from working in newspaper or online journalism.
Most new entrants are graduates, some have also completed a postgraduate broadcast journalism course.
Undergraduate degrees in journalism, some of which specialise in broadcast journalism, are available. There is also a one-year, pre-entry course in broadcast journalism, offered by several universities and colleges. Contact the Broadcast Journalism Training Council for a list of their accredited courses.
Alternatively, prospective broadcast journalists can apply to the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 or other companies, for a place on their in-house training schemes. These training schemes cover all aspects of radio and television journalism.
An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also great place to start.
Previous experience within journalism or have got broadcasting experience would be really useful and help you stand out from the crowd.
Once employed, you will be eligible for relevant in-house training and short courses.
Some experienced broadcast journalists move into news presenting or general presenting roles. Others pursue behind-the-scenes production roles.
For entry to a degree course in any subject, the usual requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs (A*-C or 9-4) in 3 other subjects.
Other qualifications, such as a BTEC Level 3 qualification or the International Baccalaureate Diploma could also be considered.
However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and Maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
You will usually be expected to have relevant skills and abilities for entry to a pre-entry journalism course. These could be gained working for a local community radio, university or hospital radio station, for example. It is useful to compile a portfolio of work.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Journalism) could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.
If you are already a graduate, part-time and fast-track postgraduate pre-entry courses (20 weeks) are available.
Non-graduates with relevant journalism experience, who demonstrate a real interest in and commitment to broadcast journalism may also be considered.
The NCTJ offers distance learning courses for those who are currently working, but are not qualified. The London School of Journalism also offers distance learning courses in News Journalism and Internet Journalism.
Skills for the creative industries
Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills
National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ)
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
Tel: 020 78433700
Journalism Diversity Fund
BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme
London School of Journalism (LSJ)
Tel: 020 7432 8140
George Viner Memorial Fund
Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ)
Tel: 020 7252 1187
Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC)
The Radio Academy
Tel: 020 3174 1180
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844
S4C (Welsh Enquiries)
Address: Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, UK, CF14 5DU
Tel: 029 2046 5533