What It Takes to Become a TV News Producer

A Look at the Job of a Television News Producer

Portrait of woman in newsroom. Credit: DreamPictures / Getty Images

Television (TV) news producers work for television news shows, either on newscasts or network shows like Dateline on NBC or premium networks such as Real Sports on HBO. TV news producer duties are similar to those of a journalist -- finding and reporting stories. But unlike a print news reporter, a TV news producer needs to create a television segment. This means a TV news producer must be able to oversee other employees and understand how to visually present the story.

In short, TV news producers are the behind-the-scenes professionals who make the network and on-air story look great.

The Skills TV News Producers Need

Creativity is an important talent for landing a job as a TV news producer, but you also need strong journalistic skills that you will hone through time and experience in the journalism field. Being a TV news producer isn't an entry-level job; it's typically a role for senior-level TV journalists. A TV news producer must be able to identify and research a story as well as collaborate with a team of people that might include writers and sometimes an anchor to put together a story that generates interest and excitement among your audience. In addition, a producer may need some technical knowledge and a background in production.

A TV News Producer's Typical Duties

If you watch a news story on television, either a segment on the evening news or on a show like 20/20 or Dateline, you’ll see that visual components mesh with an overarching story.

Successful TV news producers understand the technical aspects of putting a visual story together. In fact, some jobs may require producers to have the technical skills to actually cut and piece together their own footage along with the ability to craft accompanying commentary. In other words, a producer needs to be proficient in writing a script, cutting and piecing that segment together, and creating content for an on-camera segment that captivates viewers even if they don't actually do each piece on their own.

How to Get a Job as a TV News Producer

Basic qualifications for becoming a TV news producer include experience working for a television show, but how do you gain experience if you're just starting out? A degree in communications or journalism can help but, ultimately, an internship at a news program or a TV station is an ideal way to get your foot in the door to gain on-the-job experience. From there, your career path might begin with a job writing news for TV or assisting seasoned producers. An alternative career path for aspiring TV news producers may be to start out in a smaller market or local news region, gain experience there, and then seek opportunities with large networks or premium channels.

For Further Media Careers Reading

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