Career As a Broadcaster

Broadcasters research stories and report them on television news programs.

Broadcasters research stories and report them on television news programs.

Count yourself among 5,200 broadcasters working as of May 2011, if you choose broadcasting as a career, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Broadcasters, who are also called reporters, newscasters or news anchors, report the news on television and radio stations. You may specialize in sports, human interest stories or world news, but your primary job is informing the public about current happenings in specific markets. Communication and people skills as well as persistence will help you do the job.

Job Description

Your outgoing nature can pay huge dividends as a broadcaster. This will help you research various topics and events, and interview people with expertise on subject matter. A broadcaster jots down notes and later writes commentary or stories for the morning or evening news. Expect to edit your material to fit time frames and you will need to update stories periodically to report breaking news. You will use diagrams, charts or graphics to capture your audience's interest.

Work Life

You never have a dull moment as a broadcaster. Most in the profession work full-time and work irregular hours. News stories and natural disasters don't always occur during nine-to-five shifts. If you report on national or international news, you may find yourself taking junkets to remote areas and spending time away from family. Your expertise in weather phenomena and world events could occasionally put you in harm's way.

Education and Training

Experience working on your school's radio or TV station may be the perfect start for your broadcasting career. You will eventually need a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications, but it is possible to get hired with an English or political science background. There are also master's degree programs in journalism to broaden your employment opportunities. Delivering stories in interesting ways is what captures viewers, so hone your skills by getting a job in a small broadcasting market or by participating in internship programs.

Salary Ranges

An above average income awaits you in broadcasting after gaining years of experience. Salaries are also contingent upon industry and geographical location. These professionals earn average annual incomes of $76,370, according to the BLS. Those in the top 10 percent in earnings make over $159,530 annually. As for specific media, a career in cable television broadcasting pays the highest average salary at $89,840. The metropolitan areas with some of the highest pay scales include Miami, Boston, San Diego New York City and San Francisco: $140,120, $131,680, $116,060, $95,250 and $93,470 per year, respectively.

Job Outlook

The BLS reports an expected decrease of 8 percent in jobs for broadcasters between 2010 and 2020. Many news companies are merging, which creates fewer opportunities. The way the news is delivered is also changing, as people can obtain information from the Internet, smart phones and electronic tablets. There are also opportunities for online broadcasters.

Gannett, one of the largest media companies -- which owns newspapers, radio and television stations -- gets 25 percent of its revenue from digital media sources, according to October 2012 data from "USA Today." And Gannett, like other companies, offsets revenue from traditional media sources with more online broadcasting. This helped Gannett increase sales by 27 percent in the third quarter of 2012.

2016 Salary Information for Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts earned a median annual salary of $39,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts earned a 25th percentile salary of $28,640, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $63,820, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 50,400 people were employed in the U.S. as reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts.

 

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