Journalists research, write, edit, proofread and file news stories, features and articles for use on television and radio or within magazines, journals and newspapers.
Their aim is to present information in a balanced, accurate and interesting way through news bulletins, documentaries and other factual programmes.
Broadcast journalists can occupy a number of roles within the media including:
- presenter/news anchor
Employers of journalists
- Radio stations
- Television companies
- Periodical publishers
- generating ideas for stories and features and following leads from news agencies, the police, the public, press conferences and other sources
- pitching ideas to editors and commissioners
- researching, verifying and collating evidence and information to support a story using relevant information sources such as the internet, archives, databases, etc.
- writing scripts for bulletins, headlines and reports
- selecting appropriate locations, pictures and sound and exercising editorial judgement on the best angle from which to approach a story
- identifying necessary resources and deploying and managing technical crews for location shoots, including sound operators and camera crew
- providing directorial input, advising crews on what to film or record
- using portable digital video (DV) cameras and other equipment to record material
- producing complete packages for broadcast
- preparing and presenting material ‘on air’ for both pre-recorded and live pieces
- identifying potential interviewees, briefing them, preparing interview questions and conducting both live and recorded interviews
- preparing timings for each news item and monitoring these during broadcast
- deciding on the running order for bulletins and making any necessary changes during broadcast
- collaborating with the editor to put together the completed programme or item
- developing and maintaining local contacts and assuming a public relations role
- understanding and complying with media law and industry codes of conduct.
Although there are routes into journalism for both university graduates and school leavers, some organizations and newspapers now ask for a degree or a diploma. A degree in one of these subjects may increase your chances, particularly if you wish to pursue a career as a special correspondent:
- an interest in people, news, current affairs and a good general knowledge
- excellent written and oral communication skills
- confidence in front of a camera and an ‘on air’ presence
- an understanding of appropriate technical equipment and relevant editing software
- the ability to work under pressure, both within teams and individually
- outstanding analytical skills and ability to absorb, extract and present information in a clear and understandable way
- the ability to build rapport and to handle interactions with sensitivity, empathy and diplomacy, while maintaining impartiality
- excellent interviewing and listening skills
- an eye for a story, with an ability to generate original ideas and the confidence to pitch to senior editors
- tenacity, persistence, resourcefulness and creative problem-solving skills.