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Broadcast journalists are the frontline of television and radio journalism. They are thought of as the face and voice of a news story. Broadcast journalists must feel comfortable with thousands, sometimes millions of people looking at their face or listening to their voice.
As well as an expertise in researching and reporting on stories, the broadcast journalist possesses some other particular qualities. Unlike a print journalist, the broadcast journalist needs to be able to stay calm under pressure. Often, he or she will be reporting live from the scene where a story is taking place. There can be many distractions around the reporter, and an ability to stay focused is a major benefit.
The first step in becoming a broadcast journalist usually takes place behind the scenes. Broadcast journalists may begin their career at a small television or radio station. They may start off working the equipment that is used in the broadcasting. Sometimes, they can start off doing small slots, such as the local weather or hourly news bulletins.
Journalists or reporters of any type are now usually required to have some form of educational qualification in journalism. A great deal of experience can be gained from journalism courses. Further experience will come from working on local newspapers or small radio stations. It is at these small establishments that the broadcast journalist will learn his or her trade.
Once he or she has become more established, a broadcast journalist can choose to work in a specialized field. Fields such as politics, entertainment, and war reporting all need their own qualified broadcast journalists. The hours can be long and stressful. A great deal of time is spent researching stories, checking facts, and attending meetings and interviews. The amount of time spent on air will usually be far less than the work that goes on behind the scenes.
Competition for the role of a broadcast journalist is fierce. There are always a huge number of candidates for the jobs advertised. However, if one already works in the field and has plenty of relevant experience, then his or her foot will already be in the door. It is also very helpful if the broadcast journalist is an expert in whatever field he or she specializes in.
Although the competition for jobs is fierce, there are now more opportunities than ever before in the world of broadcast journalism. Cable television has an ever increasing amount of channels with a variety of different shows. Radio stations are also on the increase, and companies know that a good broadcast journalist will help boost and maintain their ratings.