The Job of a Journalist in Broadcast Media

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There is fierce competition for journalists' posts in broadcasting. Applicants for traineeships generally hold a good degree or an equivalent qualification, and all can show examples of their best work (in newspaper articles or on audio or videotape). The BBC advertises traineeships for local radio reporters when there is a need to recruit new staff. All journalists or reporters must be able to type and take shorthand.

Case Studies - Journalists

Hazel has been working as a reporter on a local radio station for nearly a year. She decided on a journalistic career while at university, where she worked for the university paper and had her own chat show on the campus radio station.

My job necessitates an enormous amount of shift work, and in view of this, social commitments seem invariably to move to second place. Despite this, I enjoy the job tremendously and there is a great amount of variety. It involves a good deal of interviewing as well as writing reports and copy stories. I am always reading news bulletins and often I am sent out to cover council meetings and press conferences. I also often do on-the-spot reports, usually live from the scene of the story, which I found very demanding at first.

I think that being a radio reporter demands great stamina and commitment, but I feel that the job itself has provided me with tremendous scope for a successful career in broadcasting.

I entered radio journalism by taking a radio journalism course, rather than training through a newspaper scheme or just studying journalism. I think this way has given me a much wider perception of radio and its requirements - for me the listener is always paramount, which is of vital importance in radio.

My job involves finding stories, making phone calls, interviewing and editing interviews - cutting or splicing the tape to acquire the right information and length of time - and reading news bulletins. It is extremely varied and working towards deadlines, essentially the

When I first came in here on work experience, practically all our work was done manually, using card and Letraset. Now we're using the Quantel Paintbox and Harriet animation systems, which basically means we have almost unlimited freedom to do whatever we want. For example, we can now sit down and do a title sequence using one pen and one computer, whereas before we would have had to book facilities and an editing suite elsewhere and hope that everything worked within that limited time.

The best advice I could give to someone who wants to work in television graphics is to be level headed. You have to be able to withstand pressure; stress plays a big part in television and you have to be able to cope with it. You also have to be a good ideas person and have clear thoughts in your mind about what you are going to do. Time pressures often mean you have to go with your first idea and make it work.

Journalism and News Work

News is a very important part of any broadcasting organization's output. An assortment of people are involved in news gathering, writing and presentation, but everyone from the news typist to the foreign correspondent works under the same intense pressure. There are strict deadlines, bulletins are always broadcast live and stories must be constantly updated. News work never stops and, with early morning and late night news bulletins, it involves unsocial hours, weekend duties and night shifts. Stories come in from numerous sources, including news agencies, stringers (freelance news correspondents), the police and newspaper reporters.

The news editor decides on the content of the bulletin and the weighting of the various items that make it up. They decide which items to follow up and send a reporter to cover each story. The major news organizations, such as ITN and BBC News, also employ specialist correspondents who have expert knowledge in a particular field (for example, politics or social affairs) to provide in-depth coverage of important issues.

News Reader

Also called news presenters, newscasters and anchormen/women, news readers are frequently experienced journalists. They present the news from the studio, linking and introducing stories manager takes charge of that, too. During studio recordings and rehearsals, the program director watches proceedings on monitors in the production gallery and passes on instructions to the floor manager through headphones.

Floor managers generally start their careers as assistants and need to be thoroughly familiar with every aspect of television production. Essential qualities are stamina, tact, organizing ability and great calm. Trainees should have had a good general education to at least GCSE (grade C) or equivalent standard, and experience of working in theatre.
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