Job Description of a TV Journalist

A television (TV) journalist must have some formal education. Learn about the degree, job duties and experience required to see if this is the right career for you.

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TV journalists investigate, research and report on current events on television. Journalists can work at different types of TV stations and in different specialties. Overall job prospects are expected to decline over the next decade.

Essential Information

A TV journalist prepares and reports information to the public on television news programs. A bachelor's degree is usually required; however some journalists also earn a master's degree. Public speaking and communication skills are important for this position. An internship or prior experience is also usually preferred. This can be a competitive industry where employers may consider skills, talent, personality and appearance.

Required Education Bachelor's degree usually required, master's optional
Other Requirements Related experience or internship preferred; communication skills, public speaking and other skills or requirements may apply for various employers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -9% (decline) for broadcast news analysts, reporters and correspondents
Median Salary (2015)* $36,360 annually for reporters and correspondents, $65,530 for broadcast news analysts

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

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TV Journalist Job Description

A TV journalist provides the public with informative stories on a range of topics and may specialize in one area of reporting, such as sports, finance or business. Journalists primarily work for local, state or national news stations, as well as cable networks with broadcasts reaching local, state or national viewers. TV journalist's job duties include meeting deadlines and working long hours. Many journalists have atypical schedules and some have to travel.

A journalist's main job duty is investigating and preparing the stories he or she will report, which can include covering events, researching and interviewing people. Journalists may report on location at the scene of a story or from the television station. Reporting live at the scene of a breaking news story requires putting together information on the spot with little preparation time. Other job duties include working with editors, camera crew and working with other crew members to prepare for the broadcast.

TV Journalist Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there was an expected 9% decline in employment for broadcast new analysts, reporters and correspondents from 2014 to 2024. The BLS noted that with the predicted decline in job openings and highly competitive nature of the industry, those entering the field of TV journalism should have some work experience or a background in journalism or communications. Journalists may start their careers working as interns or holding other jobs at television studios. Experience can also be gained through working for a high school or college television station, newspaper or radio station.

Many employers require a TV journalist to have a college degree in journalism. Degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels. These programs typically include coursework in journalism, photography, global reporting, news writing, ethics, sports writing, public relations and interviewing.

In addition to a college education, employers may expect a journalist to have skills in communication, computers and public speaking. Journalists may also be required to report the facts without interjecting their personal opinions or feelings and to maintain their composure under stress.

TV journalists must have versatile skills, including research and investigative skills, strong communication and public speaking abilities, knowledge of journalism and communication and the ability to work within a team. This is a competitive field that requires both education and experience to break in. The field of TV journalism is expected to decline by nine percent over the next ten years, according to the BLS.

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