What Is a Broadcast News Analyst?

Two broadcast news analysts giving the news

Are you the kind of person who reads newspapers every day and routinely tunes in to local or national news broadcasts? If you have a passion for current events and the desire to break into this fast-paced career field, you might consider becoming a broadcast news analyst.

Such a professional works in the journalism field, which means delivering news, moderating discussions and offering original analysis of the latest happenings. In short, a broadcast news analyst helps the public stay informed about what is going on in the world and the local community. If this career appeals to you, here is a guide to pursuing it and more detail on what the job entails.

Skills and Characteristics of a Broadcast News Analyst*

While many skills are important for broadcast news analysts, the most important is the ability to communicate clearly in both spoken and written language. Clarity of speech is a must-have.

Broadcasters must also have self-confidence and the ability to think on their feet. Although they will primarily be reading from a script while performing live on TV or radio, they must also be able to ad-lib when necessary. This is especially true for news commentators.

In addition, the following skills and qualities are valuable for broadcast news analysts:

  • Interpersonal skills  
  • Computer skills
  • Persistence
  • Ethical judgment and decision-making
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Deductive and inductive reasoning

Broadcast News Analysts vs. Reporters

While these two occupations are similar, there are clear differences. A reporter’s main job is to put together news stories and conduct interviews to be aired on TV or radio stations, contributing to individual segments of the program.

In contrast, a broadcast news analyst serves as anchor for the entire program. The analyst is the face of the program, introducing new segments and interacting with on-air reporters. A TV or radio anchor might be responsible for one or two long programs each day or provide a recap of the daily news in a shorter segment every hour.

Some broadcast news analysts specialize as news commentators. It is their responsibility not only to research new stories but also to analyze them and deliver original, informed opinions to the audience. Some news commentators even specialize in a certain subject area, such as sports, politics, business or medicine.

Where and When Do Broadcast News Analysts Work?

While broadcast news analysts typically work at television and radio stations, they may also spend significant time in the field finding and interviewing potential sources for their news stories. They also record segments on scene to be aired later.

However, as news anchors, broadcast news analysts typically spend most of their time in the newsroom of a TV or radio station. While they may occasionally travel to meet sources and shoot recorded segments, much of their work is done in front of the cameras or microphones at the station.

The life of a broadcaster can be quite busy and unconventional, as it often involves working odd hours. Some shows are aired during the night, early morning or evening hours. Working weekends is also not unusual for anchors.

During times of crisis, such as natural or human-caused disasters, broadcasters and other reporters must often work overtime to provide special coverage.

Degree Options

Working in journalism requires a degree in a related field, such as a bachelor’s degree in communications and broadcasting or professional writing. Either of these options will help you develop strong communication skills and an understanding of professional ethics in the field.

It’s always best to find a major suited to your career ambitions. A communications degree that emphasizes broadcasting and mass communications will allow you to develop specialized skills in digital video production and broadcasting. Acquiring a range of skills related to broadcasting will make you more desirable to employers and teach you additional soft skills essential for aspiring broadcasters.

During your studies, look for ways to get involved on campus. Being active at the campus newspaper or radio station can provide you with valuable experience and add an extra credential to your resume. Internships at TV or radio stations are also a major asset for aspiring broadcasters, so keep an eye out for any opportunities.

What’s the Next Step After I Graduate?

While a bachelor’s degree is an essential credential for aspiring broadcasters, a master’s is not. However, graduates should have a portfolio of their work accumulated from their internship experiences, on-campus experiences and participation at radio or TV stations. A portfolio of your best script clips and recorded on-air performances will be an asset as you begin searching for your first job in the field.

When looking for a job, reach out to any contacts you acquired during your internships before broadening your search. Know that it is common for aspiring news anchors and commentators to start at the bottom and work their way up the career ladder. Building experience while developing a more polished on-air persona will allow you to pursue a career as a broadcast news analyst.

You can begin working toward an exciting career in broadcasting by earning your degree at Grand Canyon University. Aspiring broadcasters can apply to enroll in the Bachelor of Arts in Communications program or the Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in Broadcasting and New Media program to develop foundational skills applicable in the field of journalism. Click on Request Info at the top of your screen to explore your future at GCU.

*Retrieved from Online Information Network (O*NET) OnLine, Summary Report for News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists in April 2021

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.