How to Become a Newscaster in 5 Steps
Find out about the job duties of a newscaster, and get information on the experience and education you'll need to pursue this profession. Learn what steps you can take to advance in your career, and check the employment outlook for newscasters. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Does a Newscaster Do?
As a newscaster, you'd gather news from various sources, help prepare scripts, edit tapes and present stories via television, radio or the Internet. You may interview bystanders for information on breaking news or question experts for special stories. You may also prepare for broadcasts by memorizing scripts or researching background information.
Step 1: Know What to Expect
Since news is a 24-hour-a-day endeavor, you can expect to work irregular hours and to travel as needed. Because newscasts often are live, you may have to improvise during interviews or when receiving breaking news. You can find yourself under pressure to meet deadlines and with little time to prepare for broadcasts.
Step 2: Gain Experience in High School
As an aspiring newscaster in high school, you can build writing, speaking and editing skills by getting involved with your high school newspaper. If your high school doesn't have a newspaper, you can speak directly with administration and faculty about setting one up. You may polish your presentation skills by volunteering to do school announcements. You may also check to see if small local newspapers are offering internships to try to gain additional experience.
Step 3: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2008, news employers favored job candidates with practical experience and bachelor's degrees in journalism, mass communication or a related field (www.bls.gov). As of June 2011, 111 programs have been accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (www2.ku.edu/~acejmc). As a student in one of those programs, you may take courses in television reporting, videography, media law, ethics, public relations, news writing and radio performance. In terms of practical experience, many of the programs give you the option of completing an internship with a news media company.
Step 4: Start Small
Be prepared to begin as an entry-level reporter and work your way up to newscaster by excelling at your position, maintaining a professional appearance and perfecting your speaking skills. You may start out with general assignments, such as court proceedings and obituaries, while you gain exposure and learn from more seasoned newscasters. This process of working your way up may involve doing freelance jobs for larger stations in the hopes of landing a full-time position.
Step 5: Consider a Specialty
The BLS reported in 2008 that job opportunities for newscasters would gradually decline between then and 2018 (www.bls.gov). Your chances of employment may be better with smaller broadcast companies, where you can develop your reporting portfolio. You may be able to help your job prospects by gaining professional experience in a reporting specialty, such as international affairs, science news, sports or weather.
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