A TV correspondent keeps the public informed through television broadcasts of what she and her employing station consider newsworthy. She may be a local news reporter who covers community news and events, or she may work for a large media organization that reports on news stories from around the world. Regardless of the locale in which she works, she is normally accompanied by audio and video personnel.
A correspondent may be a general news reporter or specialize in a particular topic. The latter normally applies if the station is large enough to have a staff of correspondents who only cover topics in specific areas, such as crime, medicine, politics or science. Sometimes correspondents are placed in a certain area to cover a story that is unfolding. This generally includes topics such as natural disasters, political unrest or international conflicts.
Depending on her industry contacts and the level of her equipment’s sophistication, a TV correspondent is generally expected to extract information for her broadcast from several sources. These typically include news wire services, remote or live question and answer sessions and interviews with people central to the subject of her report. Many correspondents prefer to report live from a location to add drama and value to their presentation and perhaps boost their station’s ratings.
Urgency and time constraints significantly affect most breaking television news stories. A TV correspondent’s success may largely depend on her ability to quickly research and write her story for immediate broadcast. She is regularly expected to take several film clips and intersperse them with audio explanations to flesh out a story and make it compelling for viewers.
Excelling as a TV correspondent customarily requires extraordinary composure and focus. Even if the broadcast is compiled of clips and tapes, those components are subject to external sources of disruption, such as weather, equipment failure and the noise of emergency vehicles or passersby. If the subject of the story involves natural disasters or hazardous surroundings, the correspondent’s ability to focus is key to the success of her performance.
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in journalism or liberal arts is normally required to be considered for a job as a TV correspondent. Independent or community-based stations with low budgets may consider applicants with less education. Experience in any type of reporting or news gathering environment is considered a plus for applicants. Some television stations may prefer to train and groom correspondents per their internal guidelines and policies.