What is a Broadcast Journalism Degree?

Broadcast journalists research and report the news across television, radio, and online platforms.

Degree programs in broadcast journalism prepare students to work both on camera/on air and behind the scenes. Students learn how to investigate, write, report, fact-check, shoot, produce, and edit original news stories, in-depth features, and documentaries. They develop interviewing skills and announcing techniques and learn to work to tight deadlines. In short, they learn what it takes to be at the forefront of an always changing world that relies on a 24/7 news cycle.

Program Options

Associate Degree in Broadcast Journalism – Two Year Duration
A broadcast journalism associate program combines introductory courses in the major with some liberal arts classes in subjects such as English literature and composition and the social sciences. Most two-year programs include a practicum component. Grads with this associate degree typically qualify for entry-level jobs in the field or go on to further study at the bachelor’s level.

Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism – Four Year Duration
The broadcast journalism bachelor’s degree is the most common credential in the field. Programs at this level incorporate more extensive hands-on learning experiences and often more than a single practicum/internship. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism, graduates are ready to progress from entry-level positions through to supervisory and management roles.

Despite the differences described above, broadcast journalism courses like the following are at the heart of both of these programs. The longer bachelor’s curriculum takes a more in-depth, comprehensive approach to the subject matter.

  • Video Journalism – the technical elements of shooting and editing visuals and audio for news and information programming; pre-production planning; field techniques including lighting; effective storytelling in a television and online news and information environment
  • Introduction to Video Editing – how to edit video footage, still images, and audio using professional editing software; basic video graphics; editing techniques
  • Introduction to News Reporting – the fundamentals of online, radio, and television news gathering and production
  • Introduction to Announcing – announcing techniques, news reading skills, effective voice usage; articulation, pronunciation, inflection, and breathing techniques
  • Introduction to Radio – introduction to radio broadcasting equipment and production techniques
  • News Writing – writing news for online, radio, and television delivery
  • Visual Fundamentals for Journalists – hands-on exploration of the technical and artistic principles of visual storytelling through photography and video production
  • Web Design for Journalists – how to plan, design, and construct a personal portfolio website
  • Media Relations Skills for Journalists – mass media concepts; the role of media relations in organizations; development of a media relations plan; strategies for effective writing, communication, audience identification and demographics, branding, and interviewing
  • Media Law – functioning as a broadcast journalist with the American judicial system; introduction to the various levels of courts; US criminal law and the laws of libel and slander
  • News Reporting – identifying, researching, and gathering of news material in an organized way; introduction to beat and filing systems, the courts, the police, organized labor, business, and politics
  • Radio and Online News 1 – students work in a newsroom environment on or off campus, operating newsroom equipment and gathering, writing, compiling, and reading newscasts
  • Television News 1 – the process by which a story idea is transformed into a television news story; gathering visual materials and writing a script; visuals and script editing
  • Documentary Production 1 – the elements of radio documentary production; researching, interviewing, writing, and sound-gathering techniques; producing effective proposals
  • Journalism Practicum 1 – immersion in a radio/TV/online newsroom environment; working to deadline and abiding by industry ethical and legal standards; producing multi-media; contributing to social media
  • Broadcast Announcing – performing basic news announcing functions for in-house operations in radio and television news
  • News Writing Lab – working to deadline to produce news and information assignments
  • Digital Journalism – web writing, design, social media, and online story delivery; digital tools and platforms currently being used in industry; verification and combatting misinformation; students create an in-depth cross-platform multimedia story
  • Radio and Online News 2 – students produce both live and recorded content for the student radio station and for filing online; reporting from the field assignments may include news conferences, the courts, or police headquarters
  • Television News 2 – immersion in a television newsroom, producing a weekly newsmagazine program; students research and develop their own television stories and are given opportunities to be on-air hosts and show producers
  • Advanced Journalism – students work individually and in groups to identify, research, pitch, and produce original investigative multimedia news stories for online distribution; they also develop a professional website and demo reel
  • Media Entrepreneur or Manager Fundamentals – practical experience in handling the business side of being freelance journalist, independent documentary producer, and program director; finance and budgeting; personnel; production costs; marketing; general management
  • Documentary Production 2 – students produce a video documentary and accompanying website
  • Journalism Practicum 2 – students apply learned skills at a media related organization under the direction of a workplace mentor

Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism – Twelve to Fourteen Month Duration
Master’s programs in broadcast journalism are not as common as bachelor’s programs and they are geared towards students who have already worked or are working in the field. The master’s curriculum is often structured like a continuing education / professional development program, offering opportunities to attain advanced knowledge in a particular segment of broadcast journalism, such as news production, newsroom management, or media law. Some graduate programs also offer courses in the history of the field.

Degrees Similar to Broadcast Journalism

Journalism degree programs teach students how to report, write, and edit articles for broadcast or publication. They include classes in broadcast news writing, copyediting and design, reporting, and media law and ethics.

Mass Communication and Media Studies
Degree programs in mass communication and media studies explore the many facets of the field, from the way individuals communicate with one another to all forms of mass media: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. The typical curriculum includes courses like communication theory, cross-cultural communication, rhetoric and persuasion, organizational communication, the psychology of communication, and free speech.

Multimedia Arts
This degree program involves creating images and content using the latest design techniques and technology. Animation, audio, interactivity, still images, text, and video are examples of multimedia arts. The core curriculum consists of courses in 3D digital art, animation, design concepts, interactive design, storytelling, and writing for media.

Photography degree programs teach the technical, creative, and business skills required to be a professional photographer. Courses cover the history of photography, black-and-white photography, color photography, lighting techniques, materials and processes, two-dimensional design, digital photography, and photography as a business.

Speech Communication and Rhetoric
Degree programs in speech communication and rhetoric focus on the study of human communication. Students of the discipline examine how we communicate one on one, within organizations, and in the larger contexts of politics, cultures, and societies. Coursework includes public speaking, speech writing, and analysis and criticism of examples of persuasive speaking or writing.

Sports Communications
Degree programs in sports communications prepare students for careers in sports journalism, play-by-play broadcasting, college sports information departments, and professional sports team front offices. Courses cover media writing, video and audio production, sportscasting, and sports marketing.

Skills You’ll Learn

Broadcast journalism graduates come away from their studies with these useful skills:

  • Ability to absorb and summarize new information quickly
  • Ability to disseminate information accurately
  • Ability to learn on the job
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Attention to detail
  • Clear, concise, and creative writing
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Digital literacy
  • Ethics
  • Objectivity and logical reasoning
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Public speaking
  • Research
  • Social awareness

What Can You Do with a Broadcast Journalism Degree?

Broadcast journalism is about much more than reporting and anchoring a broadcast. The field offers grads a variety of careers:

  • Reporter / Correspondent – researching, analyzing, and delivering newsworthy stories through different forms of media
  • TV News Anchor – researching and delivering news stories, typically working out of a studio
  • Newscast Director – responsible for calling the shots while a show is going out on air, selecting camera shots, rolling video tape (VT) on cue, and coordinating reporters and guests on the studio floor
  • Teleprompter Operator – in charge of the equipment that delivers lines to people in front of the camera; involves a lot of pre-planning and ability to think on one’s feet
  • Voiceover Artist – these artists have excellent diction and versatility in modulating their voice; their narration is played over visuals during televised news briefs, advertisements, cartoons, and video games; the audiobooks industry also hires voiceover artists
  • Field Producer – leads location crews and coordinates efforts to get footage; acts as the main communication liaison between studio and field team
  • Researcher / Market Researcher / Media Research Analyst – is heavily involved in pre-production duties such as gathering and interpreting information, fact-checking, arranging interviews, and figuring out legalities and budgeting constraints
  • Runner – this is the most junior position in broadcast journalism; the runner assists senior personnel and can be tasked with varied odd jobs
  • News Writer – writes stories for broadcasts, reviews investigative notes, and conducts research on back stories
  • Feature Producer – assists the producer; suggests content to be featured along with the storyline; supervises scripting, shooting, and editing of these segments
  • Production Executive – is in charge of hiring, managing, and organizing a production
  • Video Journalist – is responsible for producing and writing news; sets up interviews, choose shooting locations, investigates information from various sources, operates the camera, and creates news suitable for broadcasting
  • Promo Producer – is responsible for promoting television shows on air with the aim of enticing viewers to watch programs; writes, edits, and produces spots which promote programs and reinforce the network’s brand
  • Editor / Copy Editor – ensures that there are no errors in content in terms of grammar, punctuation, and spelling; ensures that names and places and facts and statistics are accurate
  • Content Manager – creates digital content for social media channels to attract new clientele and to retain and engage existing ones; works closely with SEO (search engine optimization) managers and branding experts


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