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Become a Radio News Writer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a radio news writer. Research the job duties, education, and training requirements, and find out how to start a career in radio news writing. View article »

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  • 0:04 Become a Radio News Writer
  • 0:26 Career Requirements
  • 1:11 Step 1: Earn a…
  • 2:26 Step 2: Work in the Field
  • 2:59 Step 3: Professional…

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Video Transcript

Become a Radio News Writer

Radio news writers compose stories about local and national current events for radio broadcasts. Some journalists do both the investigation and reporting, while others write news stories from information submitted by reporters. Radio news writers may also arrange interviews and edit audio for live or pre-recorded broadcasts.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Journalism, communications, English, or a related liberal arts field
Experience Requirements vary by employer, but most look for at least 3 years of experience in the field
Key Skills Creativity, strong verbal and written communication, objectivity, and interpersonal skills; familiarity with multimedia and audio editing software can also be beneficial
Salary (2016) $38,095 per year (Median annual salary for journalists)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2015 online job postings, PayScale.com.

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Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Students interested in radio news writing may pursue a degree in communications, journalism, or English to develop the necessary research, writing, and editing skills. Some schools offer radio-television majors that combine courses in writing and mass communication with audio production and digital editing, while other colleges offer focused courses in radio writing.

Since broadcast stations typically offer several types of content, students should take classes that cover a variety of writing styles, such as news, features, and opinion. A general liberal arts course load, which includes political science, history, sociology, and psychology courses, can help students write about an assortment of topics. Aspiring radio reporters who are interested in writing about a particular subject, such as politics or business, should build a solid background of knowledge in that area.

Along with acquiring knowledge, students should strive to gain relevant experience. Reporters can hone their writing skills by working at college newspapers or broadcast stations and interning with local media outlets. Students working in a radio setting can also use the opportunity to learn about the technical and on-air aspects of broadcast media, which may make them more versatile and valuable candidates in the job market.

Step 2: Work in the Field

Radio news writers at larger organizations are usually required to have at least three years of entry-level experience at local newspapers or broadcast stations. In these positions, journalists can build crucial editing and production skills and learn to work under tight deadlines.

While working as a writer, professionals will want to strengthen their web skills. Most radio stations also post material online, so learning the basics of graphic design, video production, blogging, and social media can give radio news writers additional in-demand skills.

Step 3: Join a Professional Organization

Unions such as the Writers Guild of America or the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists can help radio news writers with employment contracts, health insurance and other work-related issues. Professional organizations like the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Television Digital News Association can also provide training and networking opportunities.

So when considering a career as a radio news writer, remember that a bachelor's degree in journalism or a related area. Along with experience as a writer, a knowledge of current multimedia technology will be necessary. These professionals can gain experience while in college and through internships in order to develop skills in writing, interviewing, and researching stories for the radio.

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