Also known as: News Presenter, Newscaster
Career Level: Mid-level
What Do They Do?
Newsreaders are Broadcast Journalists who write and read the news on the radio. That means researching, verifying and writing stories, and finding and editing audio to illustrate them. Then they will prepare and practise reading it out – before doing it live on air.
A Newsreader’s daily tasks might involve:
- Keeping across the news agenda, reading newspapers and websites and watching news programmes.
- Listening to the stations on which they read the news so they understand the audience and what interests them.
- Searching for stories, cultivating contacts, combing social media and talking to people about their lives and concerns.
- Researching and writing bulletins and finding appropriate audio to illustrate them.
- Liaising with programme teams about bulletins and any breaking news.
- Driving their own desk in the news booth, whilst reading their bulletins on air.
Who Do They Work With?
- Newsreaders 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 Newsreader 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?
- Newsreaders need to have a great voice for radio, that has personality, but also gravitas when required.
- Newsreaders will understand how audio works and have a natural flair for timing their own delivery.
- Newsreaders are intensely curious, with a strong desire to know the truth. They are determined to get to the heart of a story.
- Newsreaders absorb information quickly and understand how to turn that information into something people can connect with.
- Newsreaders are fascinated by people and determined to their stories with empathy and sensitivity.
- Newsreaders must stay calm under pressure – particularly when breaking news is happening.
- Newsreaders need strong interpersonal skills, as they need to work across multiple teams.
- Newsreaders need to be confident communicators with strong writing skills, as they write their own scripts.
- Newsreaders 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?
Newsreaders will often have a degree in Journalism, and may 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 Newsreaders 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.