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TV News Careers

Who Works in a Television Newsroom?

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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, exciting and stressful. 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 irregular schedules, long hours and meeting tight deadlines.

1. News Anchor

To viewers, the news anchor is the face of the newsroom. Although he or she is just one member of the team, it is this person whom the public identifies with the broadcast. Securing an audience's trust and loyalty is important because once that relationship is established, viewers will continue to turn to that channel to get the day's news. The news anchor introduces stories, interacts with reporters, interviews experts and sometimes provides analysis of, and commentary on, stories.

News anchors usually have a background in journalism. Many work as reporters early in their careers. They work their way up through the ranks, sometimes anchoring weekend broadcasts or filling in during vacations. Those who work on national broadcasts or on shows in big cities, usually began their careers in smaller markets.

2. Reporter

Almost as visible as news anchors, are reporters. They are usually in the midst of all the action, delivering news straight from the field. For some this means going out into communities to interview sources on camera. Others report from war zones and storm-ravaged areas. Some conduct "man on the street" interviews with passersby.

Those who want to become reporters generally major in journalism or communications in college. Like anchors they often begin their careers in small markets. Some end up in large cities or reporting for national news shows. Others become anchors.

3. Broadcast Meteorologist

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 next day? The meteorologist's forecasts sometimes give us hope about upcoming days, and other times, quite literally, dampen our spirits.

Some meteorologists are scientists by training, having earned degrees in atmospheric science or in a related discipline. Many, however, have degrees in broadcast journalism or communications. While meteorologists generally report from the newsroom, they sometimes go to the story, visiting storm-ravaged locales or places where environmental disasters have struck.

4. Web Master / Social Media Manager

Although viewers generally don't even know what he or she looks like, a news broadcast's webmaster or social media manager often represents its public face. He or she is responsible for maintaining the website, blogging and posting stories on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This person interacts with viewers in a way that on-air personalities often do not.

Web masters and social media managers may 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. Typically he or she must have experience in journalism, particularly in television newsrooms and expertise in online communications and social networking.

5. Executive Producer, Associate Producer and Other Producers

Every entity needs someone to be in charge. In a television newsroom, that person is the executive producer. He or she oversees an entire broadcast, or sometimes multiple broadcasts. His or her responsibilities include dealing with financial and business matters. The executive producer, particularly if he or she is employed at a large station, is assisted by an associate producer. Working under them are other producers who tend to hands-on tasks such as writing or reviewing content and researching topics.

The executive producer oversees all employees including the news director, associate and other producers, on-air personalities and the crew. He or she coordinates news broadcasts, making sure everything goes as planned. In smaller stations, where there may not be associate and other producers, the executive producer tends to tasks they would otherwise handle.

A degree or work experience in journalism can give an executive producer the background needed to do his or her job. He or she usually works as a news producer first, then as an associate producer before an employer will deem him or her qualified to, literally, run the show.

6. News Director

News directors oversee all aspects of televised newscasts. They make decisions regarding the hiring and firing of on-air personalities as well as those who work behind the scenes. They manage personnel, administer budgets and supervise the coverage of special events. News directors also make decisions regarding which stories air, making them the people most responsible for what viewers see.

To prepare for this career, one should earn a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communications. One usually begins his or her career by working as an assistant news director. Jobs in smaller markets sometimes lead to those in larger cities or on national newscasts.

7. News Writer / Editor

Television news writers and editors create scripts for anchors, write teases used to promote stories and produce content for the 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.

Writers and editors work with reporters, anchors, web masters, directors and producers. They must not only know how to write well and edit copy, but must also be journalists who are skilled at doing research and interviewing sources in order to ascertain that stories are factual. Since deadlines are always an issue in television newsrooms, one must be able to work quickly.

8. Camera Operator

In order to bring a visual image of the news to viewers, a camera operator must capture images either in a studio or out in the field. He or she chooses the proper equipment, sets it up and then operates it. Multiple cameramen may work in a studio in order to capture various aspects of a broadcast. A single cameraman usually accompanies a reporter to the scene of a news event. In addition, he or she often captures visual content to stream on the station's website.

Camera operators usually need a bachelor's degree in film, broadcasting or communications. Many jobs require flexibility in scheduling since news can break at any time.

9. Broadcast Technician

It is a broadcast technician's responsibility to make sure we 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 broadcast and sound quality, monitors broadcasts in real time to make sure they are going as they should and selects the equipment used to transmit broadcasts.

Broadcast technicians often need an associate degree in broadcast technology, electronics or computer networking although some entry-level jobs require just a high school diploma. Good troubleshooting skills are desirable as are strong computer skills.

10. Audio Engineer

Audio engineers operate the equipment used to transmit news broadcasts to households within the viewing area. They regulate volume level and sound quality and consult with producers and news directors.

To become an audio engineer, one can attend a year-long vocational program. Alternatively, one may choose to earn an associate degree.

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