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Thanks to the simplicity and availability of internet-related features such as podcasts, webcasts, RSS feeds, and personal blogs, virtually anyone can become a news broadcaster. Being a citizen journalist brings great satisfaction for many, but there’s one drawback. Most individuals engaged in these activities are not paid.
For those wishing to move into traditional news broadcasting, and receive monetary compensation for their efforts, the options still revolve heavily around TV and radio. Breaking into either of these industries will require quite a number of years of formal education, training, internships, and practical experience. Also needed, are interpersonal skills that exceed those of the average individual. Being a news broadcaster is not a career for the introvert.
The most important requirement one must have in order to enter news broadcasting is a four-year degree from an accredited college or university. That degree should be either in communications or journalism, with a specialty in the broadcast area. However, such a degree does not guarantee a job. More and more, prospective news broadcasters need to specialize.
This is due to the fact that the industry itself is specialized. A news broadcaster might report hard news or current events, or she might be the sports anchor. A news broadcaster’s beat might cover entertainment, weather, editorial commentary, or human-interest stories. Thus, depending upon one’s preference, it is wise to take courses in economics, business, political science, physical education, or meteorology.
Further, companies seeking to hire a news broadcaster will look at independent initiative. A prospective employee will have been involved in volunteer groups that highlighted her public speaking abilities, social skills, and leadership. Also, the would-be news broadcaster must be an excellent writer, with a firm grasp of grammar. The reason for this, especially in smaller markets, is that news broadcasters often write their own scripts. In many cases, they also assist in composing advertising copy for sponsors.
The best chance of becoming a news broadcaster is to be multi-faceted. Those who have learned how to edit video footage or radio interviews are valuable to the firm. In the same vein, it is a good idea to understand the workings of camera equipment, to be able to work not only in front of the camera, but behind it as well.
Many television and radio stations will offer internships to college students whose major has a broadcast focus. Usually these are unpaid positions, though some companies will offer a small stipend or assistance with educational costs. If offered an internship, one should jump at the chance. Those who perform well are often the first ones to be offered a job upon graduation.
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