To get on the first rung in broadcasting, you need the skills of a good reporter. But you’ll also need to be a natural performer, comfortable in front of the camera or the microphone. In TV, pictures matter as much as words. On radio, particularly with lighter pieces, sounds can be as important as language.
Employers will expect you to have a wealth of relevant work experience to show you are determined to break into news broadcasting. As in any branch of journalism, you must show that you understand the needs of the audience.
They’ll expect you to be steeped in media – to know which story will appeal to which radio or TV news programme, why, and how it should be handled to make it right for that outlet. You’ll need to come up with good ideas and know how to research and execute them. Shorthand is extremely useful, particularly if you have to rush out of a court hearing and deliver two minutes straight from your notebook. You’ll also need to be able to conduct an interview and have a good broadcasting voice.
As a trainee in broadcast journalism, you will be learning about news reporting, law and how government works, just as a newspaper trainee does. However, your job is complicated in that you are not just a reporter – though you need to be very good one to get on. You are also an editor of your packages and a performer of your piece.
You will find yourself doing a wide range of tasks as a trainee, from answering the phones during a phone-in and monitoring email messages to a programme to assisting senior reporters on stories. They might have you fixing interviews for them, or conducting short interviews which they do not have time for, and which they will feed into their package.
To improve your chance of getting a job, start small, in hospital, student or community radio. Tape an entire day’s news bulletins and analyse them to see how stories fit into the whole and how they are developed. Think of fresh ways to handle stories that come round regularly.
For more information about training click here.