Broadcast journalist

reporter presenter anchor newscaster broadcaster
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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would investigate news events, speak to the people involved and present the stories on television, radio or the internet to tell people what’s happened.

You’d need to work quickly to put together sound and pictures to make an accurate story that informs the public. You could present it as either as recording or speak live in the studio or from an outside broadcast.

As a journalist on national TV, radio or an internet news service, you would research and report on UK and international stories. You might specialise in a particular type of news, such as political or sports reporting. In regional TV and radio, you would focus on local news.

You would:

  • Follow story 'leads', or generate story ideas
  • Research stories, using your contacts and sources such as the internet, archives and databases
  • Visit locations and decide on the best way of presenting a story
  • Write scripts, website or social media content
  • Prepare interview questions and conduct live and pre-recorded interviews
  • Present in TV or radio studios or on location, and record voiceovers for recorded material
  • Ask questions at briefings and press conferences

You would direct a small camera and sound crew or possibly operate recording equipment yourself.

Then you’d edit stories to fit scheduled timings. You might decide on the best running order for bulletins and make changes to programmes as new stories break.

You’d need an understanding of what makes a good news story. Having a creative approach with the ability to improvise when necessary would also be important.

In many jobs you would be part of a production team. This could include other journalists, researchers, editors, broadcast assistants and producers.

In small commercial radio stations you might run a newsroom single-handed.

Working conditions

Hours

Your working week could be long and irregular. You may need to work extra hours, evenings and weekends to meet deadlines or cover a breaking story.

Environment

You could be based in an office, a TV studio or you may even work from home if you are employed on a freelance basis. You would spend much of your time out-and-about covering stories. Outside broadcasts take place in all weather conditions.

Travel

The work could involve local, national or international travel, often at very short notice.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Persuading people
  • Working on your own
  • Accuracy
  • Researching and investigating
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

Most broadcast journalists have a degree (SCQF level 9/10) or postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11/12) in broadcast journalism or other broadcasting, media or journalistic subjects.

Before entering a course it is useful to check the list of accredited degrees and postgraduate courses on the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) website. 

To enter a broadcasting or journalism Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) requires National 4/5 qualifications and one  to two Highers. To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) requires a minimum of three Highers.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Social studies such as media, modern studies, politics and sociology (required by most courses)
  • Drama
  • Art & design

Helpful to have

Work experience in the industry would help build a portfolio of your work. This could be paid work or volunteering in the local press, hospital radio, community media or student newspaper.