One of the most competitive roles in radio is that of Broadcast Journalist. There are a good number of Broadcast Journalism courses right across the UK and that means every year there is an influx of new journalists that wish to work in radio.
Below are a number of tips from Liz Summers, a broadcast journalist with five years' experience in broadcasting plus a BJTC accredited MA in TV Journalism and a BA (hons) in Media Studies. Liz has worked for a number of different radio stations across the UK and is currently working for ITV News.
If you’re sending off CV’s to stations make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect. If you can’t get those things right editors will conclude that you won’t make a very good journalist!
Find out the name of the News Editor at the station you’re contacting. I’ve known editors to throw brilliant CV’s straight into the bin even before reading them just because the covering letter wasn’t specifically addressed to them.
Take time to construct an exceptional CV that will make you stand out from the hundreds of other people wanting a job. Ask media professionals, friends and family for advice – think of yourself as a brand and sell yourself but don’t come across as arrogant.
Read, listen and watch the news every day – you need to live and breathe news and current affairs.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re learning, journalists should be confident and inquisitive.
Take on board constructive criticism from those that you respect BUT learn to brush off negativity from others – you need a thick skin in journalism.
Print off radio news bulletins from the internet and practice reading them to yourself and others.
Listen to the way newsreaders on TV and radio use pitch and tone to add light and shade to a story.
Get as much work experience as possible. Not only will you learn a lot, you’ll also meet the right people. Everyone has a degree these days – you need something to give you an edge.
Don’t expect the work to come to you just because you’ve done a degree! You need to be VERY self motivated. Make a list of the companies you’d like to work for and write specific covering letters and CV’s for them – remember for every job that is advertised you’ll be competing against lots of other journalists. Create your own opportunities, don’t wait for them to come to you and you’ll get where you want to be a lot quicker!
DON’T GIVE UP!!!!! I know you’ve heard it a million times but seriously if at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again. Passion and determination will take you far and I’m a big believer that hard work is never wasted even if it doesn’t seem like it immediately.