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Careers in the Media and TV: Job Options and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed for a career in media and TV. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling and job options to find out if this is the career for you.

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A bachelor's degree is needed for a career in media and television. Media and television professionals include producers, news reporters and camera operators.

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Essential Information

Workers in television media function in all aspects of television broadcasting. There are a variety of media and TV careers, many of which demand a bachelor's degree for entry into the field. Additionally, careers in broadcasting and journalism often require hands-on experience that may be gained from internships.

Career TV News Reporter Camera Operator News Producer
Required Education Bachelor's degree & internship experience in broadcasting Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -8% for reporters and correspondents 2% for camera operators, television 9% for all producers & directors
Median Salary (2015)* $36,360 for reporters and correspondents $49,080 for camera operators $68,440 for all producers & directors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Careers in TV and media generally require strong communication skills, including written and verbal language skills. Some positions may have more specific additional requirements, such as technical experience with certain equipment, or specialized knowledge in a given subject area. Most entry-level positions demand a combination of a bachelor's degree and hands-on experience in broadcasting.

TV News Reporter

Television news reporters are journalists who investigate leads, tips and other happenings and then present the information to the public on television. Television news reporters inform the public about occurrences happening locally, nationally and internationally. They may specialize in certain fields like business, education or sports and only report stories pertaining to that field, or they may cover a wide array of topics. Some work as news correspondents who travel to various parts of the world and report all the news happening in that area.

News reporters gather information from public officials and documents. They also interview various people and then write scripts to present on television. Sometimes they interview sources live on the air. At other times, the reporter will not have time to prepare a script because he or she is reporting live at the scene.

TV News Reporter Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers prefer candidates that have a degree in journalism, communications or a subject-specific field if the television news reporter will be reporting on one specific subject (www.bls.gov). Experience is vital for obtaining a TV news reporter position. Students can gain professional experience through internships at local television news stations or at their colleges' broadcasting stations.

Because TV news reporters are in the public eye, employers seek employees with attractive appearances and pleasant voices. A reporter should be comfortable in front of a camera and able to work the variable hours that are often dictated by breaking news and events. Some news stories may require television news reporters to report on treacherous events like political or civil unrest or natural disasters.

TV News Reporter Salary Information

BLS lists the median salary for reporters and correspondents in 2015 as $36,360. Wages can vary significantly by location. The BLS also predicts an employment decline of 8% for news reporters and correspondents from 2014 to 2024. Declining viewership and media consolidation are listed as contributing factors for this lack of growth.

Camera Operator

Camera operators are responsible for recording what is shown on television, including news shows, sitcoms, talk shows, game shows and other television shows. They set up, work and maintain camera equipment in a variety of settings that include both indoor television stations and sets and outdoor areas.

Camera operators may set up the lighting and other equipment necessary to achieve a good shot during the broadcast. They have a firm understanding of the technical controls for achieving lighting effects, framing and composition.

Camera Operator Requirements

The BLS states that camera operators normally gain their technology skills through some type of post-secondary school, and employers may require applicants to have bachelor's degrees. Joining video camera clubs, acquiring internships and participating in their school's broadcasting station all help candidates gain work experience. Entry-level positions include becoming a production assistant to learn the inner-workings of the television station as well as how camera, lighting and other equipment is set up and used.

Aspiring camera operators will find good coordination an asset, since it allows them to catch live occurrences. They should also have good eyesight and be able to hold a camera for long periods of time. Camera operators may work in many types of settings and conditions depending on what show they are filming. While many television sitcoms are shot on a set, news camera operators can work in variable conditions that can be risky or unsafe.

Camera Operator Salary Information

In 2015, the BLS reported that the median wage for video and television camera operators was $49,080 per year. Independent artists, writers and performers were the highest-paying employers of these workers at that time, offering an average yearly salary of $96,700.

News Producer

News producers coordinate the work of broadcast newscasters, technicians and other production staff members. They write and edit stories from information gathered by reporters so that news anchors can read them during the newscast. The executive news producer oversees the entire staff, while other news producers perform specific individual duties.

Line producers ensure the productions stay within budget and within the allotted time frame. The associate producer may decide on which news stories to report, reads the news wires to stay updated on breaking national or international news and assists the executive producer with anything he or she needs. Field producers accompany news reporters on location to perform the same tasks as those producers in the broadcasting station.

News Producer Requirements

A minimum of a bachelor's degree is usually required of producers, according the BLS. Producers need to have excellent writing, editing and managerial skills, as well as be good communicators and able to multitask. Previous broadcasting experience is usually required of news producers. College students can receive on-the-job training by working at their colleges' television broadcasting stations or acquiring internships or part-time jobs at local news stations.

The BLS states that many producers usually start out their producing careers in assistant positions, where they aid with information gathering and other duties. Smaller television stations are often easier to break into than large, big-city ones.

News Producer Salary Information

According to BLS, producers and directors made a median annual wage of $68,440 in 2015.

In addition to a bachelor's degree, television news reporters need to complete an internship or another field experience to prepare for their career, and camera operators can gain experience through an internship or by joining a video camera club. News producers may also consider gaining relevant experience through part-time employment at a news station or by completing an internship. Media and television career professionals need strong communication skills along with degrees and relevant practical experience.

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