As a broadcast newscast director, sometimes called a technical director, you will be responsible for directing fast-paced newscasts, cut-ins for breaking news stories, and other news-related productions, such as public-affairs shows, fundraising telethons, taped webcasts and sports specials. If you excel under pressure and can make quick, clear cut decisions, a career as a broadcast newscast director is for you.
A newscast director is in charge of the technical aspect of a live news show. In this role, you will lead the planning and production of newscasts and collaborate with the production and engineering teams in determining the presentation of news content. To be successful as a newscast director, you must have extensive knowledge of production equipment, such as video switchers, audio consoles, server-based video systems, news cameras and newsroom operating systems. You will also lead a production crew, which includes sound engineers, camera operators, videographers, graphics coordinators, and the control room team. A newscast director also troubleshoots and solves technical problems before, during and after a show.
Education and Training
While there is no formal degree program in newscast directing, most directors have a bachelor’s degree in communication, journalism or film production. In these programs, you will learn the history of television and radio, video production, television production, newswriting and reporting, multimedia writing, and mass communication. You will also become adept at production processes, using sound effects and understanding sound theory, mixing and sound design, editing and commercial production.
In addition to having solid verbal communication skills, you must be a strong leader who can keep calm and maintain control over a production crew during high-stress situations, often occurring while a production is on the air. You should also be flexible. News happens around the clock and in all parts of the world. As a result, you will be required to work weekends, holidays, early morning and late evening hours, and even on location.
Career Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for newscast directors was $54,100 in 2010. Salaries are higher in larger markets such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Job growth is expected to increase by 11 percent for the industry as a whole, which includes directors for newscasts, television shows, motion picture and video productions, and theater productions.
2016 Salary Information for Producers and Directors
Producers and directors earned a median annual salary of $70,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, producers and directors earned a 25th percentile salary of $46,660, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $112,820, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 134,700 people were employed in the U.S. as producers and directors.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Producers and Directors
- MediaMatch.com: TV and Film Job Descriptions
- EntertianmentCareers.net: Newscast Director/Technical Director Job Description
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Producers and Directors
- Career Trend: Producers and Directors
Laura La Bella has worked as a marketing communications writer and editor in the fields of advertising, development and higher education for more than 15 years. She has authored more than two dozen nonfiction books for young adults, covering biographies of socially relevant people, timely social issues and career paths.