Design, media and publishing

Broadcasting and journalism

A career in broadcasting and journalism can offer opportunities to report on a wide range of topics at a local, national and international level. Careers are not limited to television, and could also include:

  • Blogging
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Social media
  • Local publications
  • Radio

Roles have evolved in recent years with the increased use of digital technologies including new broadcasters, websites, apps, podcasts and video channels. Opportunities are also now more diverse, but it is also now more difficult to have a conventional, well-paid career with a clear path for progression. However, it is still possible to have a successful career in this sector.

Types of graduate roles

There are a range of roles which include but are not limited to:

  • Journalist
  • Broadcast presenter
  • Engineer/technician
  • Director
  • Producer
  • Photographer/camera operator
  • Researcher

Responsibilities within these roles vary widely, but could include:
  • Researching, validating and collating information
  • Preparing questions and conducting interviews
  • Generating ideas for stories, and pitching these to producers/editors
  • Writing and publishing your work in print or online
  • Presenting, eg reading from an autocue, memorising scripts, or improvising
  • Maintaining a key network of contacts

Entry points

There is no fixed entry or progression routes for a career in broadcasting or journalism.

Entry into journalism and broadcasting is very competitive. It is vital to keep a portfolio of your work to evidence your skills and motivation to employers. To get you started, this could include creating your own blog/YouTube channel, working for local free magazines / community radio stations, or getting involved with relevant clubs / societies at University (eg Forge Press, Forge Radio & Forge TV).

For journalism, individuals can gain an industry-recognised qualification from a course accredited by the The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). Although not absolutely essential, it is advantageous as it provides practical journalism skills. There are fast-track, 1 or 3 year courses available at colleges, universities and independent providers across the UK. It is also possible to sit the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ), although candidates should sit and pass a shorthand test in advance.

For broadcasting, look out for the larger schemes offered by BBC, Channel 4. However, please be aware that these are very competitive. Certain courses at colleges and Universities have been assessed by the radio and television industries and are approved by Creative Skillset, the industry skills body.

Skills and experience required
Those successful in these careers tend to:

  • Be driven by their own determination and creativity
  • Are prepared to work long and unsocial hours
  • Have gained relevant practical experience in the sector
  • Have accumulated a portfolio of work to evidence skills
  • Have a network of contacts
  • Have an influential social media presence
  • Are up-to-date with news stories and key people in the news
  • Are excellent communicators, highly organised, and able to collaborate

Job search strategies

The industry is highly competitive, and publications/broadcasters receive thousands of job applications every year. Remain positive and proactive, and say yes to opportunities that arise, which are likely initially to include unpaid work to gain experience. Even if the experience is not specific to the specialism you are interested in, you will still acquire relevant transferable skills.

Jobs may not be generally widely advertised, and opportunities may arise through word-of-mouth or personal contacts, so independent research, networking and speculative applications are a major route to gaining employment. Many opportunities are based in London and other major cities, so flexibility with location may be required. For getting onto broadcasting, particularly as a freelance worker, you may also require a proactive agent.

Useful websites for further information
BBC careers
The BBC runs a number of training schemes and apprenticeships.
BECTU Media and Entertainment Union
Holds a register for students looking towards a career in media and entertainment (broadcasting, film, theatre, live events). Regular e-newsletters on industry issues and annual Freelancers Fair.
Broadcast Jobs
Search by category and location. You can also receive job alerts.
Broadcast Journalism Training Council
Includes a careers in journalism section.
Channel 4
Includes training schemes, industry talent schemes, work experience, events and support.
ITV Jobs
Search for jobs and sign up for alerts.
Journo Resources
Includes jobs and graduate schemes in print, online and broadcast, plus details of mentoring schemes and salary advice.
Specialist directory which includes contacts for broadcasting.
Knowledge Online
Specialist directory including contacts for broadcasting.
Media, journalism and publishing (Targetjobs)
Graduate jobs, training schemes and placements.
Jobs in the media.
National Council for the Training of Journalists
Includes the various careers in journalism, qualifications and training.
Radio Academy
Offers opportunities for those interested in radio, including national and regional events.
Science writer (Prospects)
Includes a summary of responsibilites, skills and qualifications.
Screen skills
Careers information, education and training.
Advice on a wide range of careers in the screen-based creative industries.
Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
Industry advice for writers, plus events and a list of publishing companies.
See also

Last updated: 22 Jan 2019