Programme Researcher


    Programme researchers organize, plan and coordinate the production of television and radio programmes, and undertake relevant background research.

    The researcher has a responsibility for fact checking, writing briefs for presenters, and ensuring that the production adheres to appropriate legislation.

    You can work on a variety of programmes or within one subject area.

    The role may also be known as:

    • specialist or live-footage or picture researcher;
    • broadcast assistant;
    • assistant producer.



    • meeting with producers, directors, designers, presenters and writers to discuss the research needs of a programme;
    • generating and developing new programme ideas;
    • conveying findings accurately to others in report form and ‘briefs’;
    • sourcing and researching facts, figures and information using the internet, film and tape archives, specialist collections, picture libraries, museums and government departments;
    • assessing contributors’ suitability for the programme, researching and booking appropriate people and locations;
    • booking resources and facilities;
    • recruiting freelance staff and negotiating fees;
    • providing administrative support such as typing, answering the phone and dealing with contracts;
    • briefing scriptwriters and presenters on topics, updating scripts and editing news reports;
    • sourcing copyright for literary and music sources and gaining clearance for any materials used;
    • negotiating broadcasting rights and producing information and fact sheets for websites;
    • providing research to production staff in a clear, concise format and tracking down film, archive and video tapes;
    • finding interviewees to conduct initial interviews with and getting vox-pop responses to current events from members of the public;
    • directing a small shoot and carrying out straightforward editing.



    This area of work is open to all graduates, as work experience and contacts often count for more than your degree subject. Nevertheless, a degree in one of the following subjects may increase your chances:

    • architecture;
    • art;
    • broadcasting and media;
    • design;
    • English;
    • history;
    • journalism;
    • politics;
    • public relations;
    • theatre.

    Graduates are preferred but relevant work experience, personal qualities, confidence and evidence of skills may compensate.



    • Enthusiasm
    • Determination
    • Perseverance
    • Excellent verbal and written skills
    • Adaptability
    • Able to work well under pressure
    • Organizational skills
    • Administrative skills
    • IT skills