TV News Careers
Who Works in a Television Newsroom?
On-air personalities like anchors, reporters, and meteorologists are the most visible members of television news teams, but tv newsrooms are filled with many more people. Without them, our nightly or 24-hour broadcasts would cease to exist. Life in the newsroom is fast-paced, competitive, and exciting. It is also very stressful, which is something important to consider when deciding if one of these careers is for you. Since news happens around-the-clock, the staffing of newsrooms usually follows suit. Don't expect a 9 to 5 job. A career in tv news can mean having irregular schedules with long hours and meeting tight deadlines.
The news anchor introduces stories, interacts with reporters, and interviews experts on a news show. He or she sometimes provides analysis of, and commentary on, stories.
As the public face of the newsroom, the anchor secures viewers' trust and loyalty. Although he or she is just one member of the team, the audience identifies that person with the broadcast.
To become a news anchor, get a bachelor's degree in journalism. Expect to begin your career working as a reporter before becoming an anchor. If your goal is to eventually work for a network or for a television station in a major city, you will have to start by working in a smaller market.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $60,610
Number of People Employed (2016): 5,700
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 0 percent (no growth)
Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 0
Reporters are also in the public eye. They are usually in the midst of all the action, delivering news straight from the field. They may risk their safety as they report from war zones, storm-ravaged locales, or places hit by natural or human-made disasters. Reporters go out into communities to do spontaneous on-camera interviews with sources.
To be a reporter, major in journalism or communications in college. It is likely you will have to begin your career in a small market, just like anchors do. You could one day end up reporting in either a large city or for a national news show and may eventually become an anchor.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $45,420
Number of People Employed (2016): 44,700
Projected Job Change (2016-2026): -10 percent (Employment is expected to decline)
Projected Numeric Change (2016-2026): -4,500
The tv weatherman is the reason many viewers tune into the news in the first place. How else would we know what to wear? The meteorologist's forecasts sometimes give us hope about upcoming days, and other times, quite literally, dampen our spirits.
Since meteorologists are scientists, as well as broadcast professionals, training in both areas is necessary. To be called a meteorologist, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree in meteorology or complete coursework in that subject. If you want to, instead, use an alternative title like weather forecaster, weatherman, or weather person, getting a degree or taking coursework in meteorology isn't required. A degree in journalism, communication, or speech will prepare you to report the weather on-air.
While meteorologists usually broadcast from the newsroom, they sometimes travel to the story. You may have to report in the midst of a storm or after a natural disaster has struck.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $88,850
Number of People Employed (2016): 10,400*
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 12 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)*
Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 1,300*
*This includes all atmospheric scientists and meteorologists, including a relatively small number of broadcast meteorologists.
While a news station's webmaster or social media manager isn't visible to the public, he or she communicates information just like an anchor, reporter, or meteorologist does. A webmaster maintains a newscast's website and blogs. A social media manager posts news stories on, and communicates with viewers through, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Webmasters and social media managers collaborate with news directors, producers, anchors, reporters, meteorologists, and writers—in other words, anyone who needs to interact with the public via the website or social media outlets. Experience in journalism, mainly through jobs in television newsrooms, as well as expertise in online communications and social networking are essential.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $67,990
Number of People Employed (2016): 162,900
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 15 percent (much faster than the average for all occupations)
Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 24,400
Producers oversee newscasts. The executive producer coordinates every aspect including hiring, firing, and managing personnel and also tending to business and financial matters. At larger stations, associate producers assist executive producers, and together they supervise a staff of news producers.
A producer writes scripts, edits video, and collaborates with reporters who are out in the field. He or she also works closely with the newscast's anchor.
A background in news broadcasting is needed to do this job. Most employers require a degree in journalism or a related field. You will begin your career as a news producer and may advance first to associate and then to executive producer.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $59,520*
Number of People Employed (2016): 134,700**
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 12 percent (faster than the average for all occupations)*
Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 16,500**
*Includes producers and directors who work in television and radio broadcasting
**Includes all producers and directors, for example, those working in the motion picture, advertising, and performing arts industries, in addition to broadcasting.
News directors plan news broadcasts. They choose and schedule content, making them the people most responsible for what viewers see on the air.
The news director is in charge of quality control. He or she monitors stories for accuracy and sees that rules and regulations are followed.
To prepare for this career, you should earn a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communication. It is likely you will begin your career by working as an assistant news director. Jobs in smaller markets sometimes lead to those in larger cities or on national newscasts.
See salary and employment information for Producer, above
Television news writers and editors create scripts for anchors, write teases to promote stories, and produce content for the newscast's website. They must be able to capture viewers' attention with the intent of keeping them from changing channels or encouraging them to tune in at a later time.
Assignment desk editors track stories and dispatch reporters and photographers to cover them. They must react quickly to breaking news.
Writers and editors collaborate with reporters, anchors, webmasters, social media managers, news directors, and producers. They must be able to adhere to tight deadlines, often composing breaking stories on the fly.
To become a news writer or editor, earn a bachelor's degree in journalism or communication. Excellent writing and editing skills are essential.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $61,820
Number of People Employed (2016): 131,300
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)
Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 10,000
To bring a visual image of the news to viewers, a camera operator must capture video either in a studio or out in the field. He or she chooses the proper equipment, sets it up, and operates it.
Multiple camera operators in a studio capture various aspects of a broadcast. A single operator usually accompanies a reporter to the scene of a news event. He or she may also record visual content to stream on the station's website.
Earn a bachelor's degree in film, broadcasting, or communication if you would like to be a camera operator. Most jobs require flexibility in scheduling since news can break at any time.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $53,550
Number of People Employed (2016): 25,100
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 7 percent (as fast as the average for all occupations)
Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 1,800
It is a broadcast technician's responsibility to make sure viewers both see and hear a news broadcast. Without his or her expertise, the signal transmitted from the station or field may not be clear or strong enough. He or she regulates audio and sound quality, monitors broadcasts in real time to make sure they are going as they should, and selects the transmission equipment.
Although you can enter this field with just a high school diploma, many jobs require an associate degree in broadcast technology, electronics, or computer networking.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $39,060
Number of People Employed (2016): 34,000
Projected Job Change (2016-2026): -3 percent (Employment is expected to decline)
Projected Numeric Change (2016-2026): -1,100
Audio engineers, including sound engineering technicians and audio equipment technicians, operate the equipment that transmits the sound associated with news broadcasts to households within the viewing area. They regulate volume levels and sound quality and consult with producers and news directors.
You can attend a year-long vocational program to train for this occupation. You may instead earn an associate degree in audio engineering.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $42,190 (audio equipment technicians); $55,810 (sound engineering technician)
Number of People Employed (2016): 83,300 (audio and video equipment technicians); 17,000 (sound engineering technicians)
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 13 percent - audio and video equipment technicians (faster than the average for all occupations); 6 percent - sound engineering technicians (as fast as the average for all occupations)
Projected Job Openings (2016-2026): 10,700 - audio and video equipment technicians; 1,100 - sound engineering technicians
A news photographer records images that allow viewers to see current events as they happen. Commonly called photojournalists, they take still images and digital video.
Earn a bachelor's degree in photography to get a job in this field. While in school, develop a portfolio to showcase your work.
Median Annual Salary (2017): $45,635
Number of People Employed (2016): 147,300
Projected Job Change (2016-2026): -6 percent (Employment is expected to decline)
Projected Numeric Change (2016-2026): -8,300