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Broadcast News Analyst Job Description, Career as a Broadcast News Analyst, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High school plus training

Salary: Varies—see profile

Employment Outlook: Poor

Definition and Nature of the Work

Broadcast news analysts—often referred to as anchors or newscasters—host and synchronize news programs on radio or television. Their duties include reading news stories, providing lead-ins for reports by others, interviewing guests, and conducting panel discussions. Some may work once or twice a day on a major news program, while others broadcast five-minute news segments each hour.

At small stations the news analyst is often responsible for writing the news copy, operating the control board, and presenting the sports and weather in addition to delivering the news. At large stations, however, separate news, sports, and weather anchors act as a team. Weathercasters or meteorologists report and forecast conditions after gathering information from weather bureaus. Sports-casters write and report the sports news. They often interview sports personalities and sometimes provide live coverage of events.

Broadcast news analysts are best known as the familiar voices and faces that present the news. In addition to introducing in-depth videotaped films or live segments from on-the-scene reporters, they may summarize and comment on news items, interpret specific news stories, and discuss the impact of those stories on our lives. They also gather information using research, interviews, and polls, and then analyze and interpret it for their audience.

Education and Training Requirements

Although there are no formal education or training requirements for entry into the field of broadcast journalism, a college degree or technical school specialization in broadcasting is valuable, as is experience as a reporter. Many large stations will employ only college graduates. High school courses in English, public speaking, history, and the arts are recommended.

Newscasting is a highly competitive field. Experience and proficiency as a reporter is beneficial for prospective news analysts. Knowledge of theater, music, politics, business, and sports can improve a candidate's chances of being hired. News analysts must have a pleasing personality and voice; excellent pronunciation, diction, and English usage; and, if broadcasting on television, a neat and attractive appearance.

Broadcast news analysts must be willing to travel to report on news in a variety of locations. (© Kate Brooks/Corbis.)

Getting the Job

Most news analysts enter the broadcasting field as researchers or reporters at small local stations. Prospective broadcasters rarely land on-air jobs until they have gained experience working behind the scenes, usually in several news areas. National network news analyst positions are scarce and require years of experience and a college education. Interested high school students can enter the field by participating in internships offered by some stations.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

News analysts usually advance by moving from small stations to larger ones. Some specialize in a particular news area and become hosts of a regular program. Others obtain jobs in the business sector of radio and television, such as sales and promotion.

Employment opportunities for news analysts are expected to decline slightly through the year 2014 due to slowed growth in radio and television stations. Also, the competition will be keen because there are usually more job seekers than job openings in this field. The best chances for employment are at small radio stations.

Working Conditions

News analysts usually work in well-lighted, temperature-controlled, soundproof studios. Their working hours are irregular and unpredictable, especially at the many stations that broadcast twenty-four hours a day. Newscasters must maintain a calm and level-headed demeanor in spite of the pressures of tight schedules and unexpected events. Successful news analysts become famous personalities and make many personal contacts and appearances.

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries for news analysts vary widely, but they are higher in television than in radio and higher at larger stations than at small stations. Commercial stations also tend to pay higher salaries than public stations do. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, broadcast news analysts earned a median salary of $37,840 per year in 2004. In major markets, however, their median annual income approached $200,000. Star anchors earned $1,000,000 or more.

Where to Go for More Information

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
260 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016-2401
(212) 532-0800

Broadcast Education Association
1771 N St. NW
Washington, DC 20036-2891
(202) 429-3935

National Association of Broadcasters
1771 N St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 429-5300

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts