Your guide to jobs in UK radio and audio

News Team

Broadcast Journalist

Also known as: Journalist, News Producer
Career Level: n/a


What Do They Do?

Broadcast Journalists are specialist journalists who are trained in the specifics of broadcasting on the radio.  Day-to-day they will be researching, verifying and writing stories, and finding and editing audio to illustrate them. Then they will prepare their feature to be read on air – either by themselves or by another broadcaster.

A Broadcast Journalist’s daily tasks might involve:

  • Generating story ideas and researching them – online, on the phone, in print or in person
  • Following up leads
  • Asking questions at briefings and press conferences
  • Preparing and conducting interviews
  • Writing scripts
  • Operating recording equipment and “driving” own studio desk
  • Recording voiceovers for recorded packages
  • Sourcing audio for use in news packages or reports
  • Editing packages and clips
  • Writing supporting content such as web copy or social media content
  • Liaising with programme team about timings, content and other

Who Do They Work With?

  • Broadcast Journalists will probably work as part of a Newsroom team – which may include other Broadcast Journalists, along with producers, editors and reporters who find and write the stories which make it to air.
  • In bigger networks, like the BBC or Times Radio, there may be a wider News team which may include TV, print and online output.
  • On a day-to-day basis, the Broadcast Journalist will work with the producers and presenters on their station/s to make sure that their news sits well in the output.

What Skills Do I Need?

  • Broadcast Journalists need to have a great voice for radio, that has personality, but also gravitas when required.
  • Broadcast Journalists will understand how audio works and have a natural flair for timing their own delivery.
  • Broadcast Journalists are intensely curious, with a strong desire to know the truth. They are determined to get to the heart of a story.
  • Broadcast Journalists absorb information quickly and understand how to turn that information into something people can connect with.
  • Broadcast Journalists are fascinated by people and determined to their stories with empathy and sensitivity.
  • Broadcast Journalists must stay calm under pressure – particularly when breaking news is happening.
  • Broadcast Journalists need strong interpersonal skills, as they need to work across multiple teams.
  • Broadcast Journalists need to be confident communicators with strong writing skills, as they write their own scripts.
  • Broadcast Journalists need to be technically confident in a studio and with editing software, as they generally drive their own desks and edit their own audio.

How Do I Get This Job?

Broadcast Journalists will often have a degree in journalism, and may also have a degree in another subject or a postgraduate degree.  It is essential that they have a solid understanding of libel, election law and court reporting laws (you can end up facing a big fine or even a jail term if you get that wrong).  Some public affairs knowledge is useful – how laws are made, how local and national government work.

It is likely that Radio Broadcast Journalists will have started in voluntary radio or other news media, such as student newspapers, community, hospital or student radio.  Any public speaking experience which helps you handle nerves is helpful.