- A Newsreader is someone whose job is to read out the news reports on the television, radio, or an online media platform.
- They must have strong written and spoken English language skills and be able to read scripts clearly and with character.
- They should also be good working in high pressure scenarios, and be able to remain calm and improvise when something goes wrong.
- They will also need to be good researchers as many newsreaders will also compile bulletins.
- Almost all newsreaders will start out in a voluntary role to build experience before applying for professional work. Starting salaries are likely to be between £15,000 a year and £17,000 a year, although this will grow with experience. Those at the top of their profession can earn in excess of £150,000 a year.
- There are no formal qualification requirements as experience is more highly valued but competition for work is fierce and a qualification in something like Broadcast Journalism can be beneficial.
- The biggest employer of newsreaders is the BBC, but there are also roles with commercial broadcasters and online media outlets.
What is a Newsreader?
A Newsreader is someone whose job is to read out the news reports on the television, radio, or an online media platform.
The job is primarily focused on the vocal delivery of the script which you will either read from paper or a screen in front of you, or if on TV, from an autocue. A TV Newsreader can also be seen and therefore appearance and body language are also important.
The newsreader is expected to make the news interesting and appealing to the audience by reading it out using the appropriate tone and mannerisms. They use their voice to make the story seem interesting, and where appropriate serious, amusing, or informative. They must not make every story sound the same, or use a flat monotonous delivery.
What Skills and Responsibilities are there?
A newsreader must have a strong, clear, and charismatic speaking voice. If this isn’t their everyday voice (which it will usually be) then they should be able to effect it when working. A newsreaders voice is a unique part of the communication skills they must be have in order to be able to deliver information to listeners and viewers in a way that is both engaging, entertaining, and informative.
They need excellent English language skills, both verbally and in writing. Whilst most newsreaders will be working from a script, there will be occasions when things go wrong and they are required to improvise. Having the linguistic skills to do this without the audience noticing is very difficult but hugely beneficial.
Most newsreaders will also be involved in preparing the news bulletin they are delivering, so they will also need strong writing skills, and also excellent research and monitoring skills to ensure that their bulletin is picking up on all the big, relevant stories of the day.
The job is a fast-paced one and requires the newsreader to work in a very intense, high pressure environment. They must be comfortable doing so and be able to remain calm and professional at all times, even when things go wrong. Although the work can appear solitary in nature it is in fact the result of the efforts of a close-knit team of writers, producers, and recorders, and it is essential that the newsreader can work well in such a unit.
It is also a highly competitive industry and requires people to be passionate about the work and about current affairs generally. It also requires people to be dedicated and committed, willing to network extensively, and also willing to work for little or no money at the outset of their careers.
Pay and Benefits:
At the start of a career as a newsreader, almost everyone will be working for nothing either on a community radio or TV channel, hospital radio, or a university or student channel. This is an important way to build experience but it can require people to be willing to work long hours for no tangible benefits.
Starting out in a professional role with a small regional radio station, or cable TV service, you are likely to receive a salary of between £15,000 a year and £17,000 a year to begin with.
Moving on to work in BBC Local Radio, or an equivalent commercial outlet, your salary is likely to reach around £25,000 a year to £28,000 a year. From here the next step is to work on a national broadcast where you can expect to earn between £40,000 and £45,000 a year, whilst those at the very top of their professional, delivering the news on a national TV channel are likely to earn between £150,000 and £200,000 a year. Such roles are however hugely competitive.
Technically speaking it is experience much more than qualifications that you will need to be able to demonstrate to work as a newsreader.
Almost all will have started out working in a voluntary capacity on university, hospital, or community radio. Even to secure these roles you will have to be able to demonstrate strong spoken and written English skills and also some sort of understanding of how the broadcasting industry operates.
As you begin to climb the career ladder you may well find that a formal qualification in a subject such as Broadcast Journalism can be beneficial. However this is mostly because competition for jobs is so fierce that anything that might give you an edge is helpful. Such a qualification is by no means a pre-requisite for getting to the top of your career.
As has already been stressed, gaining experience is essential if you are planning to go about finding work as a newsreader. This can be done by volunteering with your local community, hospital, or university radio station and should give you the opportunity to learn how the broadcasting process works, and whether you want to commit to a career on the airwaves.
It is most common for newsreaders to remain on the format they started out on, so if you begin life working professionally in radio, the chances are you will remain there. Only a handful of newsreaders will move from radio to television and vice-versa. This is in part because of competition for jobs, but also because the two mediums require a different skillset.
Newsreaders are hired by radio stations, TV stations, and online media companies, and needless to say the largest of these is the BBC with numerous local and national media outlets which all require newsreaders. Other national and regional commercial stations and broadcasters will also hire too. The best way to find out about jobs is to watch the companies’ websites, but there is also something to be said for approaching your local station for work experience and other opportunities. Building a strong network is essential in the broadcasting industry, and getting to know people there and expressing an interest in the work can only help you.
If you choose to move away from newsreading as a career there is sometimes the opportunity to present other broadcasts or even to move into print journalism, but for the most part newsreaders will remain in the career for life.
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