Become a Broadcast Journalist: Education and Career Roadmap

Find out how to become a broadcast journalist. Research the education and training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in broadcast journalism.

Should I Become a Broadcast Journalist?

Broadcast journalists may also be known as reporters, correspondents or news analysts. These journalists report the news, which may be on a specific subject or a variety of topics, on television and radio. They do research and conduct interviews. Often, broadcast journalists will be required to report during a live broadcast and then follow up with online journalism as well. Travel may be involved, and some broadcasting might take place in dangerous areas or situations.

Broadcast journalists usually earn a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications. However, some journalists may earn a degree on another subject and report specifically on that field. For example, a doctor may serve as a medical reporter on a regular basis. The following table contains the career requirements for broadcast journalists based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Journalism, communications or related field
Experience Entry-level experience required for by most employers
Key Skills Communication and interpersonal skills, objectivity, tenacity and stamina; computer skills in web maintenance or blogging software
Salary $31,222 per year (Median salary from July 2015 for all broadcast journalists)

Sources: Payscale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Most broadcast journalists have a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications. Students may have an opportunity to choose a track or concentration in broadcast journalism. Students will take courses in reporting and writing, broadcast reporting and ethics. They will also have the opportunity to take courses in multimedia journalism, which includes online journalism.

Success Steps

  • Begin to build a portfolio. Generally, employers prefer that broadcast journalists have experience. Students can begin to build a portfolio before graduating, which can include clips from coursework, internships or student broadcasts. Students can also include work from a school run television or radio station.
  • Join a student organization. Students can join professional organizations that give them the opportunity to network with peers, find mentors and pursue job opportunities. Those organizations can help students prepare to enter the job market upon graduation.

Step 2: Gain Experience

To gain experience, graduates can begin by working for small or local broadcasts. In the age of the Internet, individuals can create and manage their own sites to prove their knowledge and technical skills. Students without experience can expect entry-level positions as production assistants or the equivalent.

Success Step

  • Learn to use social media. Journalists can prove to be an asset to their organization by learning to promote themselves and outlet for which they work. Individuals that are knowledgeable of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook can use their skills to build a following and inform the community about news stories. In addition, journalists that already have a following may be preferred by employers.

Step 3: Join a Professional Organization

Aspiring broadcast journalists who desire to advance their careers should consider joining the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTNDA). These organizations offer various membership benefits including access to industry resources, tools, trends, conventions, job banks, networking opportunities and other avenues for professional training and advancement.

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