Your Complete Guide to a Career in Broadcast Journalism

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According to a study conducted by KPMG on behalf of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) called The Future: Now Streaming, the Indian media and entertainment industry is expected to grow at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 14.3% and reach a massive valuation of Rs. 2.26 trillion by next year.

The media and entertainment industry consists of several diverse subsets, including filmmaking, television production, web-based audio-visual production, photography, animation, sound and music, and of course – journalism and mass communication. When we talk about careers in media and entertainment, broadcast journalism is one of the top options that are available to youngsters today.

Journalism has always had an impactful role to play in our society, ever since newspapers became commonplace. Post the long print journalism phase came the age of radio, followed by the unprecedented audio-visual medium of television. The television industry brought with it massive investments and an influx of numerous channels, including news channels. The news and journalism industry flourished substantially in this era, before its modern counterpart (the internet) took the world by storm.

Today, both television and web journalism are equally popular means of journalism around the world, since people who consume news content have easy access to both TV and the internet.

What is journalism?

Journalism refers to the process of using any medium to disseminate news, information and other content to a wide set of audiences. Print journalism, for instance, relies on newspapers and magazines to carry printed news content and material. Journalism, in essence, is the collection and dissemination of news through different media (print or electronic).

What is broadcast journalism?

Broadcast journalism is dynamic and interactive in nature. It includes television journalism and internet journalism. TV journalism, as the name suggests, is where news is disseminated using television news channels as the medium. The explosion of digital platforms and social media channels has expanded the scope of broadcast journalism to give it a broader definition. Broadcast journalism involves various fields of work, including research, news reporting, content writing and editing, video editing, photography and broadcasting.

What is the difference between journalism and broadcast journalism?

Whether you like watching the news bulletin in the evening, or love reading the morning newspaper with your coffee, or wait for the hottest debates at primetime, or are hooked on to the hundred different subscriptions you have signed up for online – it is all brought to you courtesy journalism. While journalism is the umbrella term that is used for referring to any kind of news or information delivery, broadcast journalism specifically refers to the dissemination of news or content via electronic media.

Why is journalism important?

In our society, journalism plays a crucial role, since journalists are expected to bring accurate, reliable and firsthand account of the latest stories happening around us. It is fair to say that most of the information that we consume and the updates that we get about different topics and trends are brought to us by broadcast journalists.

What is the role of a journalist?

The role of a journalist is to gather news from different sources, conduct research to validate the information, package it in an easily-digestible format, and present it to the audience. Modern-day journalists rely on news networks, informers, sources and data to create compelling stories that are presented to the audience via various mediums.

Is broadcast journalism a good career choice?

Broadcast journalism is a highly rewarding career option for youngsters, since it is very dynamic in nature and involves the utilization of varied skillsets. Journalists are employed by a wide range of media businesses, including news studios, social media agencies, digital marketing companies, TV news channels, media houses, and even corporates.

There are several types of journalists that work in different areas of journalism, including the following:

  • Politics
  • Business
  • Sports
  • Celebrities
  • Entertainment
  • Current affairs
  • Crime
  • Weather
  • Lifestyle

Modern-day journalism is driven by hard facts, data, networking, investigation and witnessing things as they happen. Journalists and news outlets use research, cross-examination, digital technology and analytics to validate their stories before publishing or broadcasting them.

How has broadcast journalism transformed the way news coverage works?

Broadcast journalism has given a new and interesting twist to the way news coverage works. Today, you can access any kind of journalistic content anywhere, thanks to smartphones, laptops and tablets. Online platforms are competing with television channels, which reflects the current state of journalism.

In fact, TV channels have also realized the power of digital broadcasting, and offer their content via this new medium, too. One look at the Twitter feed of any leading news outlet will tell you that we have come a long way from the times of traditional news. Today’s journalism is a mix of text, images, illustrations, GIFs, videos and whatnot.

What is the future of broadcast journalism?

The future of broadcast journalism looks bright, since more and more people will rely on interactive digital mediums for their daily dose of news. Going forward, trends like virtual reality and augmented reality will soon proliferate into this arena, making the news dissemination process enhanced, and the news consumption experience better.

Careers in broadcast journalism

There are several opportunities for young aspirants to enter the field of journalism and build a career in a specific niche. Given the rise in the number of television channels along with the ever-increasing popularity of digital news platforms, the scope for broadcast journalists is massive.

As mentioned above, qualified broadcast journalists are in high demand in the industry. The keyword here is ‘qualified’. For anyone to land a job as a broadcast journalist in a media outlet, news channel or other similar avenues, having a solid and relevant educational background in the subject is a must. To kick start your career in broadcast journalism, it is essential that you study the subject and learn the nuances of journalism before you start working.

Studying broadcast journalism can help you:

  • Learn the fundamentals of journalism and mass communication
  • Explore the field of journalism in great detail
  • Catch up on the history of journalism and how it has evolved
  • Learn various journalistic techniques
  • Understand how news broadcasting and coverage works
  • Get familiar with the equipment, technology and software used by modern-day journalists

If you have a keen interest in different subjects and events that happen around the world, along with great communication skills, a dynamic personality and wish to enter the media industry, a career in broadcast journalism might be perfect for you.

Various colleges and universities in India offer different types of courses in journalism, including degree programs, diplomas and certificate courses. However, if you have your heart set on a career in broadcast journalism, it is best that you opt for a full-fledged specialized degree in the subject. A typical broadcast journalism and mass communication degree is three years long, split up into six semesters. At the end of each semester (or year), you have written exams based on whatever you have learnt in the preceding months. Along with the tests, journalism courses also have an important component of practical assignments and projects.

Broadcast journalism, despite being a field that is rapidly expanding, is very competitive at the same time. However, for those who have the right education and exposure to how things work in the industry, the career opportunities are boundless.

Eligibility criteria

Most institutions that offer a degree in journalism will have the successful completion of 10+2 (in any stream) as the basic eligibility criterion for admission. Apart from this, some colleges might also ask you to appear for an entrance exam, group discussion and personal interview as a part of their student selection process. During this process, the college’s selection panel basically tries to gauge your aptitude, communication skills, ambitions, hobbies, skills and reasons why you want to take up journalism as your profession.

What kind of jobs can you get with a degree in journalism?

Here is a list of jobs that you can get with a degree in broadcast journalism:

  • News anchor

Anchors, presenters or hosts are individuals who deliver news stories to the audience via television or web-based channels. Anchors usually work with news studios, shooting shows or snippets that are broadcasted later. In other cases, presenters or correspondents travel for on-site or live broadcast reports.

  • News writer

News content writers are in charge of drafting stories for broadcast mediums. They are responsible for the content that appears on screen, along with the scripts that news anchors read off a teleprompter. They collect information, review investigative notes, conduct research and strain the facts to create compelling stories.

  • Feature producer

A feature producer works on studio-based shows or special segments, assisting the chief producer in the process. They enable the efficient scripting, shooting and editing of these segments, while also supervising the peripheral work on a variety of news features.

  • Production executive

Managing the operations and flow of a news studio production is a specialized and important job. Production executives are responsible for hiring manpower, managing equipment, supervising the news production process. At times, they also need to secure funding for news shows. One of the most important tasks that production executives fulfill is that of ensuring that the budget doesn’t overshoot.

  • PCR controller

The production control room operator uses a range of hardware and software to make sure that the production of any news show in the studio happens seamlessly. Whether it is a pre-recorded show or a live broadcast, PCR operators need to think on their feet and be well-versed with equipment and software that facilitates the smooth running of the show.

  • Video journalist

Video journalism revolves around the creation of audio-visual news content for the audience. This could include travelling to different locations, covering regional news, interviewing people and reporting on a wide range of topics. Video journalists are expected to be all-rounders, being proficient in verbal and written communication, and well-versed with video shooting, audio recording and editing techniques.

  • Promo producer

Conceptualizing, creating, recording, editing and packaging news items or snippets for television and web is the job of a promo producer. A promo producer basically ensures high quality of production and works with other team members to ideate and implement campaigns on a variety of platforms.

Other related occupations and professions in journalism

Apart from the seven jobs or roles mentioned above, there is an entire world of opportunities for journalism graduates (especially those who have studied broadcast journalism). Here is a quick look at some other peripheral journalism areas that you can explore:

  • Documentary production
  • News studio management
  • Copy editing
  • Voiceover
  • Content strategy
  • Public Relations
  • Market research
  • Travel blogging
  • Food blogging
  • Social media

10 Must-have skills required to become a journalist

Journalism is all about time and accuracy – the faster you are able to package a news item and deliver it to the audience, the better you are. Here are a few essential skills that you need in order to become a good journalist:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good understanding of the news media industry
  • Ability to work fast (gather information, validate facts and present them)
  • Writing skills
  • Fluency and control over language
  • Good networking skills
  • Ability to conduct research independently
  • Journalistic ethics and unwavering integrity
  • Competent investigative skills
  • Knowledge of new technology and digital media
  • Ability to shoot, record and edit using industry-standard equipment

How much do broadcast journalists make?

As is the case with any other field of work, the salary and pay scales in journalism depend on certain factors:

  • Educational qualification
  • Practical experience (projects, internships, jobs)
  • Time spent in the industry
  • Abilities and skills
  • Achievements

The Indian news industry is evolving with every passing year and there are lots of studios, companies and agencies that need able journalists for their everyday operations. Established news studios and organizations offer relatively better packages and salaries to their employees as opposed to smaller or newer setups.

Television and web journalists, with relevant experience, can earn really handsome pay packages. In case you still need an average salary for some of the most popular journalistic roles in the industry, here is the breakdown according to Payscale.com:

  • Editing – Rs. 311,872
  • Content Writing – Rs. 337,500
  • Technical Writing – Rs. 350,000
  • Social Media Marketing – Rs. 307,226

These are all averages for entry-level candidates. However, with substantial experience in the field, journalists can expect salaries go well above Rs. 500,000 PA.

A career in broadcast journalism offers you an opportunity to not only build a solid portfolio, but also provides you with avenues to develop your skills, build your professional network, work with leading companies in the media industry, collaborate with experienced people from the industry, and more.

Golden Tip: Avoid paying too much attention to how much you are earning at the beginning of your career. Rest assured, experience, credentials and good endorsements from employers and coworkers will yield great results in the long run.

What are the factors to consider while choosing a journalism college?

India is home to a host of media institutions that offer courses in journalism and mass communication or mass media. However, selecting the right college for a degree in broadcast journalism is important, since this is the investment you will make for your professional career.

Here are a few things to consider while choosing a college or course for broadcast journalism:

  • Faculty members and their experience
  • Course curriculum and practical exposure
  • Facilities and infrastructure
  • Job placements, internships and industry tie-ups
  • Industry exposure (seminars, guest lectures, field trips, studio visits)
  • Alumni
  • Fees

Golden Tip: In case you live in a different city from where the college of your choice is based, make sure you check out their website and social media profiles to get an idea of who they are, what they do, what they have to offer, and what the campus culture is like.

What will you learn in a broadcast journalism course?

While every university or private institute will have its own set of subjects and modules as a part of their journalism degree, there are a few essential and common broad-level areas that are generally covered in these programs. Here’s a quick look at the core subjects that are taught as a part of any professional broadcast journalism course:

  • Basics of broadcast journalism and mass media
  • Introduction to news formats
  • News production
  • News writing and reporting techniques and skills
  • News anchoring and reporting
  • Investigative journalism (investigation of news stories)
  • Feature production
  • Interview, debate and panel discussion techniques
  • Studio production process
  • Production control room operations
  • Camera operation and multi-camera setup
  • Video editing
  • Audio production, editing, voiceover skills

Golden Tip: No amount of theoretical learning will ever prove to be sufficient. Got questions about how things work? Google it, meet experts, get firsthand experiences on live projects, assist other journalists – practice makes a man perfect!

Broadcast journalism course fees

Journalism degree courses are offered by various colleges in India and each college has its own unique fee structure, depending on where they are based, what facilities they offer, what kind of course they deliver, etc. If we were to point out a range, on an average the annual fees for a contemporary broadcast journalism degree course could fall anywhere between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 5 lacs.

Which are the best cities for studying journalism in India?

Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Indore, Varanasi, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Chennai are cities that are known for their quality of higher education. These places have multiple media and journalism institutes that you can choose from for your degree. Apart from being educational hubs, these cities are also hot avenues for entry-level as well as experienced journalists in terms of jobs. All the aforementioned places have a thriving media and news industry and hence, there are several opportunities for capable journalists to begin their career, establish themselves and make their mark.

9 Pieces of advice for aspiring journalists

  • Watch, read and browse through the daily news
  • Read up online about journalism and broadcast media
  • Follow the leading news studios, channels and print subscriptions
  • Develop the ability to write and type fast and without errors
  • Try writing your own versions of published pieces of content or news
  • Start capturing the events around you using your smartphone or camera
  • Learn to shoot and edit videos of good quality
  • Meet current and past journalism students and ask them all the questions you have
  • Sign up on LinkedIn and other job portals to keep an eye on what journalism recruiters expect from potential hires

If you have what it takes to become an ethical, responsible and courageous journalist, kickstart your career with a three-year degree in broadcast journalism at Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism. The media institute offers the perfect blend of theoretical knowledge, practical training and on-the-job learning.