Broadcast journalism tips offer path to success

Some use it for entertainment, others for daily news. With roots in print, broadcast journalism is made to be heard, be it 100 or 1 million listeners.

The keys to success in broadcast are much simpler than people think.

Rich Kremer, a University of Wisconsin-Superior graduate with a degree in journalism, hosts “The Forum” on Wisconsin Public Radio. © 2012 Raina Beutel

“In addition to being a good listener, broadcast students also must be outstanding writers,” says Wendy Wallace in her article, Tips for Getting Started in Broadcast Journalism.

Remember, whatever you write is intended to be read aloud. Kelsea Wasung of Walter Kronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication reminds broadcast journalists to keep it simple, because “the viewer does not always have the opportunity to watch the report again”.

Broadcast must be conversational. They don’t have the time to be bogged down with fancy words – they’re there for the facts, discussion, and a bit of entertainment in some cases.

Al Tompkins, broadcast journalism group leader of Poynter.org, says, “If a crowd of journalists is going somewhere, I’d go wherever they are not going,” and seek out people different from yourself. Going somewhere you wouldn’t think of distances you from competition.

People can easily look up their 5 o’clock news and get the general headlines for the night, but a good journalist can cover topics off the beaten path or put a creative spin on an already popular topic

Many broadcast journalists agree, however, that starting small is key to getting started in broadcast journalism.

“The best thing you can do is visit radio stations in your area,” said Peter King, of CBS News Radio. Getting internships and simply hanging around the station will teach more than you’d think.

“Good reporters know a little bit about a lot of things,” King says. “Being a good human being, having common sense and curiosity — those are the traits that make a good journalist.”

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