How to Become a TV News Producer: Career Roadmap

Should I Become a TV News Producer?

TV news producers work with reporters and journalists to develop news stories and decide how to present broadcasts to their audience in a way both entertaining and informative. Most producers have earned a bachelor's degree, and many get their start through internships and entry-level positions as production assistants.

TV news producers, like other kinds of producers, have the potential to earn a lot of money. Becoming a producer can be difficult, however, and may be dependent upon personal and business relationships, opportunities, and a lot of experience. The length of work assignments can vary by position, project, and network. Work environments can range from studio spaces to on-site locations with bad weather or hazardous conditions. Work hours are often irregular and long.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree most common
Degree Fields Writing, journalism, communication, arts management or related program
Experience Several years of related experience typically required
Key Skills Strong leadership skills, management and communication skills and creativity; knowledge of related computers and electronics, such as circuit boards, as well as media production techniques
Salary (2014) $69,100 per year (median for all producers and directors)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in broadcast journalism and mass communications. Students can also find programs specific to production, such as the Bachelor of Arts in Television Production. These programs cover related topics, including media research techniques and television technology. Many undergraduate programs allow students the opportunity to find an internship with a local TV news station or work at a campus-based television station. These internships may lead to entry-level positions after graduation.

Step 2: Find an Entry-level Position

Entry-level positions provide new graduates with opportunities to gain experience with news research, writing and production. Aspiring producers may begin by writing or taking on clerical and other tasks as needed. Entry-level positions may also enable prospective producers to get experience working as an assistant or associate producer or in another production-related position. Duties for an entry-level position may include delivering information, reviewing scripts and performing a variety of administrative tasks.

Step 3: Build Professional Production Experience

With experience, producers may begin to have more responsibility for determining a news presentation's style and format. Other advanced responsibilities may include conducting staff meetings and coordinating details with other managers, producers and writers. Producers may also play a supervisory role in creating broadcast schedules and resolving personnel issues.

Success Tip:

  • Join a professional organization. Organizations like the Producers Guild of America (PGA) provide access to networking events, seminars and job listings. Producers can use these resources to learn more about the industry, as well as keep current with trends in the production field.

Step 4: Become an Executive Producer

Executive TV news producers are responsible for overseeing and managing the entire production process from writing stories to reviewing aired material. Other duties may include hiring staff members and ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of news content. Experienced TV news producers may be promoted to upper management positions or move on to news organizations in larger markets or at more prestigious stations.

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