Newsreader jobs(Also known as News anchor, Anchorman, Radio newsreader)
A newsreader (or news anchor) is responsible for delivering news reports via TV, radio or digital media services. Depending on whether a newsreader is to appear on radio or television news programmes, the news announcements will either take the form of auditory (radio) or audio-visual (TV) performances. In its most basic form, news reading is a voluntary position with a small community radio station, whereby the candidate will simply read a short statement of news items from a list; the onus is on tone of voice and pacing to make the stories sound engaging, warm and entice the listener to learn more. The newsreader will typically seek to avoid sounding dry, flat, or as if they are just reading from a pre-prepared list, which is where the reader’s talent defines their ability. At the top end of the scale, the newsreader could be presenting a news programme on a national television programme. Here, the performance centres as much on the visual, and so care will be paid to the newsreader’s clothing, make-up, mannerisms, on-screen personality, ability to use a teleprinter (auto-cue) and their ability to work with a producer giving audio instructions in real time in a live environment. The TV broadcast side of reading the news is a particularly competitive industry (a facet of the career caricatured by Will Ferrell’s popular “Anchorman” movie), although the news media industry has gone completely global, meaning there are opportunities with smaller channels in any number of countries overseas.
SalaryUsually, the candidate will begin in an unpaid role, either with college radio, hospital radio or reading the news on a community internet-based radio or traditional radio station. It is essential that experience is gained in this way, even if the candidate has the backing of a formal qualification in broadcast media. Starting salaries in a professional role begin at around £13,000 at a commercial radio station (which, pro-rata, is considerable given the limited number of hours involved). Newsreaders working with a BBC local radio station can expect to receive up to £25,000 depending on experience, whilst those who make it to national radio can enjoy salaries in excess of £40,000. For TV work, the salaries can be relatively high due to the competitiveness of the industry. Top level newsreaders with the BBC in London can earn in excess of £150,000.
- Working with producer to determine content for broadcast
- Writing script and preparing running order for show
- Presenting the news (and weather report, where this is not done by a meteorologist)
- Working in real time with the producer or lead anchor to overcome problems and improvise where appropriate
QualificationsThere are no specific formal qualifications, especially in the case of novice newsreaders working with community radio shows. However the candidate will need to demonstrate a good grasp of English (both written and spoken) as well as a commitment to the medium (be it radio, TV or internet broadcasting). It is possible to begin with a grass roots role and work up through being dependable and gathering experience with a variety of news shows. However, due to the intense competition for work at higher levels, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism or similar qualification will really help, or at least put the candidate on a level playing field with other well equipped graduates.
- Be an effective communicator
- Possess strong written and verbal English language skills
- Be prepared to take a voluntary role to build experience
- Be enthusiastic and professional at all times
- Be prepared to attend many media industry networking events
- Have a passion for news reporting
- Be a strong team player in a fast-moving, live environment
Working ConditionsThe TV news room, by its nature, is a fast-paced (and to some, very intimidating) environment. As with many “entertainment” jobs, initial nerves are calmed by experience, although there is always the chance that something could go drastically wrong during live news reading. This is where the candidate’s many years of experience endow them with the improvisational skill to adapt and correct errors, omissions and technical difficulties.
ExperienceMost novice newsreaders start in a charitable role with a community, hospital or college radio station. New candidates who are currently studying at university are advised to approach their campus radio station; this gives them an ideal way to test the water before deciding that broadcast radio is a career they wish to pursue on graduation from their course. Students studying for intensive media qualifications will cover both radio and television production in depth, and part of this course will usually involve journalism and audio presentation.
Career ProgressionMost newsreaders will elect to stick to one format or another, so beginning a career in radio typically defines that as a speciality area for the candidate. That said, there have been exceptions, particularly with the BBC where popular local radio DJs and newsreaders make the move to television.
EmployersIn terms of radio, the UK’s largest employer by far is the BBC, which operates national and international FM and AM radio services, plus regional services in every county in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The BBC is also the UK’s largest employer of newsreader staff in the country, along with Virgin Media.
Ricky Salmon is Managing Director at Big Fish Media, and an experienced newsreader with BBC2. He can also be heard regularly as the voice for an "on hold" news service for BMW, Vodafone, Mercedes Benz and Carphone Warehouse.