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Job Description of a News Cameraman

by Holly Goodman

Cameramen are the seldom seen eyes behind broadcast news, filming for both television and online sources while a reporter on the other side of the camera holds the spotlight and tells the story. These photojournalists often work odd hours to capture events and breaking stories for morning and evening air times.

On Assignment

One of journalism's big perks, especially for the adventurous, is an ever-changing work environment and unpredictably diverse subjects to film from story to story. In news, you know never know what you're going to get. A cameraman on assignment typically pairs with a reporter to cover assigned events and breaking news stories outside the office. The duo collaborates to tell a story where the words and images work in harmony and they often film at multiple locations in a single day. They sometimes compile footage to later be edited and shaped into a final on air product and other times broadcast live without editing.

At the Station

Meanwhile back at the station, news cameraman film anchors, reporters and in-studio interviewees for broadcast. These cameramen may be one of a team of camera operators shooting from different fixed locations to get a variety of angles. Like their counterparts in the field, they might be shooting a live unedited stream or getting footage to be later edited in a more highly produced feature that will be used within a live broadcast.

Education and skills

News cameramen often come to the job with a two- or four-year degree in videography, camera operation or journalism. This prepares them to understand the tenets of news, to operate everything from cameras to editing equipment, and to produce engaging stories anchored by the images they capture. Cameramen need an eye for images, the flexibility to quickly shift tasks or stories, and a strong understanding of digital production. Sometimes technical skills are more important for the job than formal training, notes education-portal.com. On-the-job training through internships or at college stations can be invaluable experience.

Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 2 percent job growth for camera operator in television, video and film between 2010 and 2020, but doesn't have statistics specifically pertaining to news. The agency reports average earners made about $40,390 in 2010, with the top 10 percent bringing in more than $81,000 annually. Projected job growth falls well under the 14 percent expected in the overall job market through 2020.

About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Holly Goodman began writing professionally in 1991. Her articles have appeared in "The Oregonian," "Dog Fancy," "High Times," First Wives World and on YouTango.com, among other publications. Her fiction has appeared in "The Journal" and at Literary Mama. Goodman has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The Ohio State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images