In 2012, 29,310 radio and TV announcers and 11,290 reporters and correspondents worked in radio and TV, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professional broadcasters may be news anchors, talk show hosts, field and special assignment reporters or broadcast analysts. May 2012 BLS salary data shows that TV and radio announcers earned an annual mean wage of 41,860, reporters and correspondents made $45,120 and broadcast news analysts earned $78,380.
Employers prefer to hire professional broadcasters with a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications, reports the BLS. A degree in a related subject, such as English or political science, is acceptable if accompanied by work experience. In addition, employers prefer workers who have gained experience through internships or hands-on involvement on school projects.
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree, broadcasting students take a range of classes, which may include journalistic ethics, mass communication law, mass communication theory and research. They may also take classes in production techniques, script writing, research and interviewing. Broadcasters should be comfortable covering a variety of subjects, so many programs also include liberal arts classes such as economics, political science, English and history.
Research and Analysis
Broadcasters need strong research and analytical skills. They must be able to investigate leads while patiently yet persistently delving deeper to uncover the truth and separate facts from speculation and rumors. They must also be objective and report the news impartially without inserting their opinions in the story. Broadcasters that host programs must be well rounded, since they spend much time on the air and must be able to discuss a variety of topics and provide relevant commentary on important news stories.
Excellent communication skills are essential for a broadcaster. These professionals must be able to write in a clear manner easily understandable to the average person. Broadcasters also need excellent verbal communication skills. They should be articulate and eloquent when speaking on the air or when conducting interviews. Also, broadcasters need good reading and verbal skills to read scripts and teleprompters at a normal pace without awkward pauses. In addition, hosts need to effectively moderate panels and discussions. Some broadcasters also make promotional appearances, so they should be comfortable speaking before crowds.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Industries at a Glance: Broadcasting
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 National Employment and Wage Estimates
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Reporters, Correspondents and Broadcast Analysts
- Marquette: Suggested Curriculum For a Broadcasting and Electronic Communication Major
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