On the Air in Local TV News

by | March 31, 2009

The "face" of the newsgathering operation is the reporters and anchors of each station, also referred to as "the talent." Becoming an on-air reporter or anchor is very tough. Most people will start out as a general assignment reporter in a very small market and will move around the country every one to two years, jumping to larger markets with better financial compensation.

Some will also have to work less coveted schedules like overnights and weekends just to start building their career and demo tape. It is no longer uncommon for reporters to start out as "video journalists" or VJs. These reporters are virtual one-man bands. They use digital video cameras and laptop editing software, shooting and editing their own video, in addition to producing and writing their own story.

Median Salary for Reporters: $26,000

Median Salary for Anchors: $48,000

Meteorologist or Weatherman: Meteorologists possess a degree in meteorology or atmospheric science, whereas some weathermen do not. Much of today's weather forecasting is left to high-powered computers that offer various models to predict the weather. Weather is one of the most popular segments of local broadcasts. There are both on-air and producing opportunities in weather. Beyond television stations, there are also opportunities on cable at The Weather Channel and local 24/7 weather channels, as well as weather service companies like AccuWeather or WeatherCentral.

Sportscaster or Sports Anchor: In some cases, a station's lead sports anchor is also referred to as the sports director. There is a growing emphasis within some local television stations on reducing their sports staff and delegating coverage of sports to the news staff, as a result of increasing competition from sports cable networks and web sites. Alternatively, there are more and more opportunities to work in sports cable television, as well as for professional sports organizations and leagues that have recently launched their own networks.

Filed Under: Job Search


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