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Job Photographs

  • A woman is sitting at a desk in an office.  She is using a computer.

    Doing some desk-based research.

  • A woman is standing in a street, talking to a policeman.

    Finding out further details from a police officer.

  • A woman is removing a video tape from a shelf.  The shelf is full of stacked tapes.

    Finding some library footage.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk, using a computer.  She is wearing headphones.

    This journalist, who works for a radio station, is editing a sound clip.

  • A woman, wearing headphones, is standing in a street.  She is filming a tram, which is moving down the street.

    TV journalists often film footage for their reports.

  • A man and a woman are sitting at a long desk.  There are computer and television screens on the desk.

    Working with an editor to put together a report.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk in an office.  She is talking to a woman, who is standing next to her.

    Speaking with a producer about some footage.

  • A woman is standing in a street, behind a television camera.  Another woman is standing in front of the camera and speaking.

    Interviewing a witness to an accident.

Journalist - Radio/Television

Introduction

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

Work Activities

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

Pay

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-employment

Self-employed freelance work is widespread in radio/television journalism.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

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.

Work Experience

Previous experience within journalism or have got broadcasting experience would be really useful and help you stand out from the crowd.

Training

Once employed, you will be eligible for relevant in-house training and short courses.

Progression

Some experienced broadcast journalists move into news presenting or general presenting roles. Others pursue behind-the-scenes production roles.

Qualifications

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.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

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.

Experience

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.

Courses

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.

Distance learning

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.

Further Information

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

BBC Careers

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/careers/home

Wireless Group

Irish enquiries

Email: info@u.tv

Website: www.utvmedia.com

Hospital Broadcasting Association (HBA)

Website: www.hbauk.co.uk

ITV Jobs

Website: www.itvjobs.com

National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ)

Email: info@nctj.com

Website: www.nctj.com

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Tel: 020 78433700

Email: info@nuj.org.uk

Website: www.nuj.org.uk/work/careers/

Journalism Diversity Fund

Email: journalismdiversityfund@nctj.com

Website: www.journalismdiversityfund.com

BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme

Email: careers@bbchrdirect.co.uk

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/jobs/jts/

StartinTV

Website: www.startintv.com

Broadcast

Email: info@mbi.london

Website: www.broadcastnow.co.uk

London School of Journalism (LSJ)

Tel: 020 7432 8140

Email: admin@lsjournalism.com

Website: www.lsj.org

George Viner Memorial Fund

Email: georgeviner@nuj.org.uk

Website: www.georgeviner.org.uk

Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ)

Tel: 020 7252 1187

Email: memberservices@cioj.co.uk

Website: www.cioj.co.uk

Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC)

Email: sec@bjtc.org.uk

Website: www.bjtc.org.uk

The Radio Academy

Tel: 020 3174 1180

Email: info@radioacademy.org

Website: www.radioacademy.org

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

S4C (Welsh Enquiries)

Address: Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, UK, CF14 5DU

Tel: 029 2046 5533

Website: www.s4c.co.uk

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