A career in TV journalism can be exciting, enriching and incredibly varied. This competitive industry isn’t easy to break into, but if you’re dedicated and motivated enough you could soon be breaking out onto TV screens across the world. To avoid getting disheartened by the path ahead, it’s important to see each potential ‘obstacle’ as a step closer to your dream career. Candidates for this type of work need to be confident, enterprising and driven.
There are different types of TV journalism positions available so it helps to know what kind of work you’re hoping to do. Some prefer to work in the general news sector, while others prefer branching out into specific paths such as politics, sports and the environment. Whichever path you choose to follow, there are several steps that will help you to get where you want to be.
Getting the right skills
TV journalism isn’t just about turning up and reporting in front of a camera. There are actually many different jobs associated with this type of career. In particular; you’ll spend a lot of time researching and following leads for news stories. This requires excellent research skills. You’ll also need to be able to follow your instincts and be prepared to seek out stories that are pretty much unknown. Then when you do find a story, you’ll also need to pitch your ideas, which requires excellent written skills.
Often the first step for gaining the right skills for the job is to achieve a broadcasting journalism degree. Specifically, look for a degree that’s accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council. Not only will you gain theoretical skills, you’ll also be provided with practical training while you study.Something else you can do is enter into student journalism awards. These allow you to practice your skills. If you get nominated or even better if you win, you’ll find it much easier to get a placement/job in the industry.
It’s a good idea to create a portfolio. This will help you to show potential employers what you are capable of. Include any stories you’ve found/written. You could also get a friend to film you talking about the latest news; ideally reporting on a story you’ve found yourself, rather than run of the mill content.
Many candidates also find it easier to get into TV journalism after they’ve studied print journalism.
Getting experience abroad
If international TV journalism is something you’re interested in, a placement abroad could be ideal. Providing invaluable experience, abroad placements allow you to experience an entirely different culture. Each placement has different requirements you need to meet in order to be accepted. General experience within journalism is typically one of the main things you’ll need. You also might be required to teach English as part of your placement. Therefore a teaching qualification could come in useful.
Where can I do it?
There are many parts of the world that require TV journalists. Mongolia in particular has been focusing on adding a western influence to its TV programs. It depends upon the type of journalism you’re looking to do and how much you want to get paid.
China is one of the best locations to head to if you’re looking for a well-paid placement in a developed country. It’s worth noting that the entry requirements may be a little stricter in the more developed countries. Cambodia, Ethiopia and India typically offer volunteer placements. Always research the different countries available before deciding which opportunity is right for you. The right placement will give you great experience and help you to develop your skills.
Starting on the right path
If you think TV journalism is the career for you, there are several things you can do today to increase your chances of getting into the industry. Check out the action steps below and see what you can start doing today to move closer to your dream.
1. Enrol on a broadcast journalism degree course
2. Look online for relevant flexible short courses in journalism
3. Tailor your resume to fit the needs of TV journalist employers
4. Create a portfolio
5. Enter a student journalism award
6. Gain an Intern placement with a TV station
Any of the above steps will take you one step closer to achieving your goal. They will also help you to gain confidence within the industry.