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Broadcast journalist: Job description

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Broadcast journalists research, investigate and present news and current affairs content for television, radio and the internet. Their aim is to present information in a balanced, accurate and interesting way through news bulletins, documentaries and other factual programmes.

Broadcast journalists can occupy a number of roles within the media including:

  • editor;
  • reporter;
  • presenter/news anchor;
  • producer;
  • correspondent.

Typical work activities

Although exact duties and responsibilities will vary from role to role and between radio, television and the internet, broadcast journalists will generally be involved in many of the following duties:

  • generating ideas for stories and features and following leads from news agencies, the police, the public, press conferences and other sources;
  • pitching ideas to editors and commissioners;
  • researching, verifying and collating evidence and information to support a story using relevant information sources such as the internet, archives, databases, etc.;
  • writing scripts for bulletins, headlines and reports;
  • selecting appropriate locations, pictures and sound and exercising editorial judgement on the best angle from which to approach a story;
  • identifying necessary resources and deploying and managing technical crews for location shoots, including sound operators and camera crew;
  • providing directorial input, advising crews on what to film or record;
  • using portable digital video (DV) cameras and other equipment to record material and appropriate editing software to produce complete packages for broadcast;
  • preparing and presenting material 'on air' for both pre-recorded and live pieces;
  • identifying potential interviewees, briefing them, preparing interview questions and conducting both live and recorded interviews;
  • preparing timings for each news item and monitoring these during broadcast;
  • deciding on the running order for bulletins and making any necessary changes during broadcast;
  • collaborating with the editor to put together the completed programme or item;
  • developing and maintaining local contacts and assuming a public relations role;
  • understanding and complying with media law and industry codes of conduct.

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Written by Gemma Halder, AGCAS
March 2015

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