Broadcast journalism is a type of mass communication that entails broadcasting a message over television, radio, or the Internet. When people think of television broadcast journalism,what often comes to mind are the news anchors behind the desk, sharing the news of the day. However, broadcast journalism entails much more than this. Professionals are required to write the news segments, as well as go out in the streets and interview sources and witnesses.

The College Board highlights an important part of broadcast journalism as the people who are behind the camera, operating the microphones and recording equipment, or editing and producing the news, sports, and entertainment segments we see on TV. Without all the people working together behind the scenes, news anchors would not have much to work with. One of the goals of broadcast journalism schools is to show students how all these components come together to produce the news segments we see every day. Broadcast journalists may fall into one of the following categories, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • News analysts, news anchors, and newscasters.

    These professionals take the information they have received from various sources, interpret it, and break it down on television for their listeners. They also describe photo or video footage that accompanies a news story, or provide a voice-over while video or photo footage is being shown. News anchors may even communicate back and forth with other journalists who are reporting from the scene of a news event.

  • Reporters and journalists.

    In broadcast journalism, reporters and journalists are the ones out in the street following up on leads, investigating facts, interviewing sources, and making observations at the scene of a news event.They report live from a scene or in pre-recorded segments, backing up their stories with quotes from officials or analysis of public documents. While they are often in front of a camera, much of the legwork for their news stories takes place through Internet research, phone calls, and knocking on doors.

  • General assignment and topical reporters.

    While general assignment reporting is usually associated with print journalism, broadcast journalism does, in some organizations, have certain reporters dedicated to reporting all manner of newsworthy events. Investigative reporters are also included in this category, as their time is dedicated to long-term, investigative work in a variety of areas. Larger news organizations have reporters dedicated to specific types of news, such as politics, entertainment, health, business, and sports.

What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Broadcast Journalism?

The most appropriate careers for someone who graduates from an online journalism college include news analysts, reporters, and correspondents. Broadcast journalism colleges aim to equip students with the training and credentials they need to land a job in journalism, considering most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism or mass communication, according to the BLS. As you seek out online journalism degrees, remember that the top schools for broadcast journalism offer programs that are accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Salaries for journalism professionals vary widely and depend on where you work, your years of experience, and your position in a news organization. The median yearly salary for news reporters and correspondents was $34,850 as of May 2008, with the middle 50% earning between $25,760 and $52,160, according to the BLS. Salaries for broadcast news analysts were higher, with the median yearly salary sitting at $51,260, and the middle 50% earning between $32,000 and $88,630.

Where you live plays a big role in salary levels as well. The highest-paying states for broadcast news analysts were Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and Texas, while top-paying metro areas included the Miami and Orlando, Fla., areas and the San Diego, Calif., metro area, according to the BLS. For reporters and correspondents, top-paying states and areas were Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Georgia, while top-paying metro areas were the Edison-New Brunswick, NJ, metro area; the Atlanta metro area; and the Boston metro area, the BLS noted. However, keep in mind that your salary may vary depending on your experience, employer, and region.

When considering a career in broadcast journalism, remember that graduating from even one of the best schools for broadcast journalism does not guarantee you a job in the industry. Your ability to land a good job will depend on a number of factors, including the current job climate, your willingness to relocate, and your willingness to start with a low-paying position and work your way up in to something more desirable. This is especially important to remember considering the BLS projects employment of news analysts, reporters, and correspondents to decline moderately, and that those entering the field can expect keen competition for work at large metropolitan broadcast stations and networks.

What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Broadcast Journalism?

Online universities that offer broadcast journalism degrees deliver their courses through an online portal, and students access their courses by entering a username and password. Once the student clicks on a particular course, he or she can access their instructor’s lecture notes, slides, and videos; the class syllabus; assignments and readings; and other materials relevant to the course. Online students may use traditional textbooks or e-textbooks, depending on their instructor’s preference.

Students communicate with their instructors and classmates through email, online message boards, or even video conferencing. Programs offered by colleges for broadcast journalism typically require courses such as news writing, community journalism, online journalism, news editing, history of mass communication, and media law. In an undergraduate program, these courses would be complemented by general education courses such as mathematics, college writing, and humanities, as well as elective courses. Some online programs require the completion of an internship in a journalism setting, which helps students hit the ground running with job experience once they earn their degree.