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Television Journalist Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a television journalist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and required experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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Television journalists report the news to keep the public informed of local and worldwide events. A bachelor's degree is required, and an internship is usually preferred. Journalists also need a broad knowledge of many subjects.

Essential Information

Television journalists include news correspondents, reporters and broadcast news analysts. A bachelor's degree is usually required to be a television journalist, and related work experience or an internship in the industry may be preferred by some employers. Job candidates with an educational background in multiple fields may also have an advantage in obtaining a position as a television journalist.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in journalism or communications
Other Requirements Experience or internship preferred
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -9% (decline) for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts
Median Salary (2015)* $36,360 annually for reporters and correspondents; $65,530 annually for broadcast news analysts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Educational Requirements for Entering the TV Journalism Field

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of employers prefer to hire television journalists who hold bachelor degrees in either journalism or communications (www.bls.gov). Since television is a broadcast medium, individuals seeking television journalism careers will want to choose degree programs with a focus in broadcasting. Common coursework in journalism degree programs include TV and radio announcing, mass communications, global media, media writing and media technology.

The BLS stated that many employers look for substantial journalism experience. Most journalism degree programs provide students with work experience opportunities, such as reporting for the school newspaper or hosting a radio show on the campus radio station. Individuals can also build up experience by working as freelance journalists, who try to sell individual news articles to various print-media editors.

Job Description for a Television Journalist

Television journalists keep the public informed about local events, weather reports and global concerns. Television journalists, sometimes called news anchors, report information concerning local, national and global events. Television journalists work with teams of reporters and film crew members during the taping of news broadcasts. Most TV journalists report the news live, meaning that camera crews record the report and immediately broadcast it out over the airwaves. Some journalists prepare articles before reporting them live on television, but many journalists read the reports off of a script or Teleprompter. Journalists may report on multiple topics, or focus on only one topic, such as economics or politics.

During broadcasts, journalists also interview guests, including political leaders, local law enforcement officials and celebrities. Before conducting interviews, journalists often perform background research so that they know which questions to ask. Journalists also have to consider which interview questions would be the most interesting for viewers. With the help of technology, news anchors also correspond with on-the-scene journalists who are reporting on current events.

Job Outlook for a Television Journalist

Between 2014 and 2024, the BLS predicted that jobs for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts would decline by -9%. Since competition for open positions will be fierce, a degree in only journalism or mass communications may not provide applicants with a significant advantage. Applicants with a diverse educational background in additional fields, such as economics, business, sports or politics, will have a better chance of finding work, according to the BLS.

Television journalists research topics, analyze information, and conduct interviews to accurately report the news. They are usually required to complete a bachelor's degree and internship to work at a television or radio station. Jobs in this field are declining, and additional education in other fields, such as political science or economics, may be helpful in landing a job.

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