Broadcast journalism

Broadcast journalism is the field of news and journals which are "broadcast", that is, published by electrical methods instead of the older methods, such as printed newspapers and posters. Broadcast methods include radio (via air, cable, and Internet), television (via air, cable, and Internet) and the World Wide Web. Such media disperse pictures (static and moving), visual text and sounds.

Suleiman Kova and media, 2013 DSM Building Collapse
Photo and broadcast journalists interviewing government official after a building collapse


Broadcast articles can be written as "packages", "readers", "voice-overs" (VO) and "sound on tape" (SOT).

A "sack" is an edited set of video clips for a news story and is common on television. It is typically narrated by a reporter. It is a story with audio, video, graphics and video effects. The news anchor, or presenter, usually reads a "lead-in" (introduction) before the package is aired and may conclude the story with additional information, called a "tag".

A "reader" is an article read without accompanying video or sound. Sometimes an "over the shoulder digital on-screen graphic" is added.

A voice-over, or VO, is a video article narrated by the anchor.

Sound on tape, or SOT, is sound or video usually recorded in the field. It is usually an interview or soundbite.

Radio was the first medium for broadcast journalism. Many of the first radio stations were co-operative community radio ventures not making a profit. Later, radio advertising to pay for programs was pioneered in radio. Later still, television displaced radio and newspapers as the main news sources for most of the public in industrialized countries.

Some of the programming on radio is locally produced and some is broadcast by a radio network, for example, by syndication. The "talent" (professional voices) talk to the audience, including reading the news. People tune in to hear engaging radio personalities, music, and information. In radio news, stories include speech soundbites, the recorded sounds of events themselves, and the anchor or host.

Some radio news might run for just four minutes, but contain 12–15 stories. These new bulletins must balance the desire for a broad overview of current events with the audience's limited capacity to focus on a large number of different stories.[1]

The radio industry has undergone a radical consolidation of ownership, with fewer companies owning the thousands of stations. Large media conglomerates such as Clear Channel Communications own most of the radio stations in the United States. That has resulted in more "niche" formats and the sharing of resources within clusters of stations, de-emphasizing local news and information. There has been concern over whether this concentration serves the public. The opposition says that the range of political views expressed is greatly narrowed and that local concerns are neglected, including local emergencies, for which communication is critical. Automation has resulted in many stations broadcasting for many hours a day with no one on the station premises.


When radio first became popular, it was not used as a source of information; rather, people listened to the radio solely for entertainment purposes.[2] This began to change with a man named Edward R. Murrow. Edward Murrow was an American who traveled to England in order to broadcast news about World War II. He stayed in London throughout the war and was the first to report on events such as bombings in London and updated the people on Hitler's reign. Murrow gained his fame mainly after reporting on Hitler's German army annexing Austria. Many Americans relied on his broadcasts throughout the war to gain information about the war.[3]

More people also began to rely on radio for information after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. People found out about the bombing through President Roosevelt's broadcast interrupting their daily programming. It set Americans on edge, and people began to rely more heavily on the radio for major announcements throughout World War II.[4] World War II was a time where radio broadcasting became a much larger industry because it was the easiest and quickest way for people to get updates on what was going on throughout the world.

Informative radio continued while television reporting also began to take flight. Throughout the 40's and 50's television news sources grew, but radio still dominated. It wasn't until John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963 that television newscasting took off. Radio could only capture the sound of the event, but television showed people the true horror of the assassination.[5] This was one of the first major events in which news companies competed with each other to get the news out to the public first. CBS News was the first to report that Kennedy had been shot and was killed.[6] News crews spent the next several days covering everything happening in Washington, including Kennedy's funeral.[7] This set the standard for news stations to have to cover major events quicker and get them out to the public as they were happening. The JFK assassination helped to transform television journalism to how it is today, with instantaneous coverage and live coverages at major events. Television offered faster coverage than radio and allowed viewers to feel more as if they were experiencing the event because they could visualize exactly what was going on.[8]

NBC (National Broadcasting Company) and CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) were the two competing forces of news broadcasting in the early years of broadcast journalism. NBC was established in 1926 and CBS in 1927. There was a divide in the industry because they were not only competing against each other, but radio news that had already been established.[9]

Women had a hard time immersing themselves into radio news seeing as most of the radio broadcasts were men. There was a small number of women who hosted programs that were for homemakers and were on entertainment broadcast.[10] After World War II, the doors for women in broadcasting opened up. This was also due to the shortage of men that were home during the war, so news outlets looked to women to fill those gaps of times. In the 1960s and 1970s larger numbers of women began to enter into broadcast news field.

Both radio and television are major sources for broadcast journalism today, even with rapidly expanding technology. Television still focuses on covering major events, but radio broadcasts focus more on analyzing stories rather than reporting breaking news.[11] The internet often beats out broadcast journalism in terms of reporting breaking news, and the field of broadcast journalism is constantly having to adapt to the changing technology of today.


Television (TV) news is considered by many to be the most influential medium for journalism.[12] For most of the American public, local news and national TV newscasts are the primary news sources.[13] Not only the numbers of audience viewers, but the effect on each viewer is considered more persuasive ("The medium is the message").[14] Television is dominated by attractive visuals (including beauty, action, and shock), with short soundbites and fast "cuts" (changes of camera angle). Television viewing numbers have become fragmented, with the introduction of cable news channels, such as Cable News Network (CNN), Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

A journalist works in San Francisco's Marina District after the October 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake
A journalist works on location at the Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco's Marina District October 1989.

Local television

The industry divides local television in North America into media markets. These television markets are defined by viewing area and are ranked by the number of audience viewers. New broadcast journalists generally start in the smaller markets with fewer viewers and move up to larger television stations and television networks after gaining experience. The larger stations usually have more resources and better pay.

United States stations typically broadcast local news three or four times a day: around 4:30–6 am, 11:30 or noon, 5 or 6 pm, and 10 or 11 at night. Most of the nightly local newscasts are 30 minutes, and include sports television and weather. News anchors are shown sitting at a desk in a television studio. The news anchors read teleprompters that contain local interest stories and breaking news. Reporters frequently tell their stories outside the formal television studio in the field, in a remote broadcast setting where Electronic news-gathering (ENG) techniques are used with production trucks. Daytime television or morning shows include more "soft" news and feature pieces, while the evening news emphasizes "hard" news.

News jobs

News anchors (formerly "anchormen") serve as masters-of-ceremonies and are usually shown facing a professional video camera in a television studio while reading unseen teleprompters. The anchors are often in pairs (co-anchors), who sit side by side and often alternate their reading. Meteorologists stand in front of chroma key backgrounds to describe weather forecasting and show maps, charts and pictures. Reporters research and write the stories and sometimes use video editing to prepare the story for air into a "package". Reporters are usually engaged in electronic field production (EFP) and are accompanied by a videographer at the scenes of the news; the latter holds the camera. The videographer or assistants manage the audio and lighting; they are in charge of setting up live television shots and might edit using a non-linear editing system (NLE). Segment producers choose, research and write stories, as well as deciding the timing and arrangement of the newscast. Associate producer, if any, specialize in other elements of the show such as graphics.

Production jobs

A newscast director is in charge of television show preparation, including assigning camera and talent (cast) positions on the set, as well as selecting the camera shots and other elements for either recorded or live television video production. The technical director (TD) operates the video switcher, which controls and mixes all the elements of the show. At smaller stations, the Director and Technical Director are the same person.

A graphics operator operates a character generator (CG) that produces the lower third on-screen titles and full-page digital on-screen graphics. The audio technician operates the audio mixing console. The technician is in charge of the microphones, music and audio tape. Often, production assistants operate the teleprompters and professional video cameras and serve as lighting and rigging technicians (grips).

Business Changes

Broadcast journalism is changing rapidly, causing issues within the business as well. Many people can no longer find jobs in broadcast journalism because much more is online and does not even need to be broadcast by a person. Others are being laid off to invest more money into new technologies. Other changes include innovations allowing TV stations to better alert viewers in emergencies and have higher quality services. [15]

Online convergence

Convergence is the sharing and cross-promoting of content from a variety of media, all of which, in theory, converge and become one medium. In broadcast news, the internet is a key to convergence. Frequently, broadcast journalists also write text stories for the Web, usually accompanied by the graphics and sound of the original story. Websites offer the audience an interactive form where they can learn more about a story, can be referred to related articles, can offer comments for publication and can print stories at home. Technological convergence also lets newsrooms collaborate with other media, broadcast outlets sometimes have partnerships with their print counterparts.

Citizen broadcast journalism

Citizen broadcast journalism is a new form of technology that has allowed regular civilians to post stories they see through outlets such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter. It has become a new trend that some allegedly fear will take over broadcast journalism as it is known. News companies, like Fox News, are employing citizen journalists, which is a new phenomenon among journalism. [16]

Fake news[17]

The term "fake news" or Yellow journalism has taken over broadcast journalism throughout the past and current years. Its impact on broadcast journalism played a role in how news about the election was spread.[18] Fake news defines how viewers see news that may be misleading or false. The main aim of Yellow Journalism is to gather the attention of people in the society.[19] Many of these false or misleading stories came out during the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.[18]

See also


  1. ^ Carole Fleming (10 September 2009). The Radio Handbook. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-25810-8.
  2. ^ "Edward R. Murrow: Inventing Broadcast Journalism". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  3. ^ "History of Broadcast Journalism". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  4. ^ Pinheiro, Bob. "Radio Reports Japan's Attack on Pearl Harbor". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  5. ^ "12 Events that Triggered Media Coverage Evolution". The Balance. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  6. ^ Sneed, Tierney (November 14, 2013). "How John F. Kennedy's Assassination Changed Television Forever". Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  7. ^ "How the JFK assassination transformed media coverage". Reuters. 2016-11-21. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  8. ^ "Television in the United States - The year of transition: 1959". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  9. ^ Hilmes, Michele (2007). NBC: America’s Network. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520250819.
  10. ^ Hosley, David (1987). Hard news: women in broadcast journalism. University of Michigan: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313254772.
  11. ^ "Journalism Then and Now". Digital Journalism. 2011-11-06. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  12. ^ "Television Journalism". Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  13. ^ "1. Pathways to news". Pew Research Center's Journalism Project. 2016-07-07. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  14. ^ Marshall MacLuhan (1995). Understanding media. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-63159-4.
  15. ^ "Television Legislative and Regulatory Issues | Advocacy | National Association of Broadcasters". Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  16. ^ "Citizen journalists are about to take over newsrooms". New York Post. 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  17. ^ Novotny, Eric. "Library Guides:". Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  18. ^ a b "Ethics in the News - Fake News and Facts in the Post-Truth Era". Ethical Journalism Network. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  19. ^ "Yellow Journalism". Medium. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
American University School of Communication

The School of Communication at American University is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. The school offers five undergraduate majors: communication studies, print/broadcast journalism, public communication, visual media, and foreign language and communication media (jointly administered with the College of Arts and Sciences). Interdisciplinary degrees in communication, legal institutions, economics, and government (CLEG, which is housed in the School of Public Affairs), and multimedia design and development (which is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences).

Anna-Maria Fernandez

Anna-Maria Fernandez (born October 22, 1960) was an American professional tennis players active during the 1980s. She won five WTA titles during her career, all in doubles. Her career high ranking in singles was number 19, in approximately 1979–1980. She was a member of the University of Southern California's national championship team (1979 and 1980) and captured the AIAW singles national championship title in 1981. She was named the National Collegiate Player of the Year (1981) winning the Broderick Award that year. She earned a BA degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC (1983).

She is married to former tennis player Ray Ruffels and the mother of professional golfer Ryan Ruffels. She is of Peruvian American ancestry.

Ben Tracy

Benjamin Sampair Tracy (born July 16, 1976) has been a CBS News national correspondent since January 2008. He is based in Beijing and covers the eastern news, primarily for the CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor and CBS This Morning.

Tracy was a reporter for WCCO-TV, the CBS-owned station in Minneapolis, where he was a member of the station's investigative team, covering many major stories, including the methamphetamine epidemic and the collapse of the 35W bridge.

During that time, he also was a contributor to the Saturday Early Show, to which he brought his signature "Good Question" segment, started at WCCO-TV, to a national audience. Tracy also reported for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric on the collapse of the I-35W bridge and flooding in southern Minnesota.

Before joining WCCO-TV, Tracy worked as a reporter at WISN-TV Milwaukee and WBAY-TV Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is the recipient of five Emmy Awards and the Alfred DuPont-Columbia award for excellence in broadcast journalism.

Tracy was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. He graduated from St. Thomas Academy and later from Marquette University with bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism and political science and with a master's degree in public service. Tracy lives in Los Angeles.

Current affairs (news format)

Current affairs is a genre of broadcast journalism

This differs from regular news broadcasts that place emphasis on news reports presented for simple presentation as soon as possible, often with a minimum of analysis. It is also different from the news magazine show format, in that the events are discussed immediately.

The UK's Office programmes such as This World, Panorama, Real Story, BBC Scotland Investigates, Spotlight, Week In Week Out, and Inside Out also fit the definition.In Canada, CBC Radio produces a number of current affairs show both nationally such as The Current and As it Happens as well as regionally with morning current affairs shows such as Information Morning, a focus the radio network developed in the 1970s as a way to recapture audience from television.Additionally, newspapers such as the Private Eye, the Economist, Monocle, the Spectator, the Week, the Oldie, the Investors Chronicle, Prospect, MoneyWeek, the New Statesman, TIME, Fortune, the BBC History Magazine and History Today are all sometimes referred to as current affairs magazines.

Defense News

Defense News is a global website and magazine about politics, business and technology of defense. Defense News serves an audience of senior military, government and industry decision-makers throughout the world.

Edward R. Murrow Award (Washington State University)

The Edward R. Murrow Award is a journalism/communication honor extended by the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication of Washington State University.

The award is for "commitment to excellence that exemplifies the career of Edward R. Murrow." It may be for Lifetime Achievement or Distinguished Achievement, on a case-by-case basis.

Local news

In journalism, local news refers to coverage of events, by the news, in a local context that would not be an interest of another locality, or otherwise be of national or international scope. Local news, in contrast to national or international news, caters to the news of their regional and local communities; they focus on more localized issues and events. Some key features of local newsrooms includes regional politics, business, and human interest stories. Local news readership has been declining in recent years, according to a recent study.

Media clip

A media clip is a short segment of electronic media, either an audio clip or a video clip.

Media clips may be promotional in nature, as with movie clips. For example, to promote upcoming movies, many actors are accompanied by movie clips on their circuits. Additionally, media clips may be raw materials of other productions, such as audio clips used for sound effects.

News analyst

A news analyst examines, analyses and interprets broadcast news received from various sources. Sometimes also called newscasters or news anchor or Broadcast News Analyst. News analysts write commentaries, columns, or scripts.

They coordinate and sometimes serve as an anchor on news broadcast programs. They develop perspectives about news subjects through research, interviews, observation, and experience.

News broadcasting

News broadcasting is the medium of broadcasting of various news events and other information via television, radio, or internet in the field of broadcast journalism. The content is usually either produced locally in a radio studio or television studio newsroom, or by a broadcast network. It may also include additional material such as sports coverage weather forecasts, traffic reports, commentary, and other material that the broadcaster feels is relevant to their audience.

News program

A news program, news programme, news show, or newscast is a regularly scheduled radio or television program that reports current events. News is typically reported in a series of individual stories that are presented by one or more anchors. A news program can include live or recorded interviews by field reporters, expert opinions, opinion poll results, and occasional editorial content.

A special category of news programs are entirely editorial in format. These host polemic debates between pundits of various ideological philosophies.

In the early-21st-century news programs – especially those of commercial networks – tended to become less oriented on "hard" news, and often regularly included "feel-good stories" or humorous reports as the last items on their newscasts, as opposed to news programs transmitted thirty years earlier, such as the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. From their beginnings until around 1995, evening television news broadcasts continued featuring serious news stories right up to the end of the program, as opposed to later broadcasts with such anchors as Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Diane Sawyer.

Peabody Award

The George Foster Peabody Awards (or simply Peabody Awards) program, named for the American businessman and philanthropist George Peabody, honor the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in television, radio, and online media. Programs are recognized in seven categories: news, entertainment, documentaries, children's programming, education, interactive programming, and public service. Peabody Award winners include radio and television stations, networks, online media, producing organizations, and individuals from around the world.

Established in 1940 by a committee of the National Association of Broadcasters, the Peabody Award was created to honor excellence in radio broadcasting. It is the oldest major electronic media award in the United States and some say the most prestigious, sometimes competing for recognition with the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. Final Peabody Award winners are selected unanimously by the program's Board of Jurors.

Reflecting excellence in quality storytelling, rather than popularity or commercial success, Peabody Awards are distributed annually to 30 out of 60 finalists culled from more than 1,000 entries. Because submissions are accepted from a wide variety of sources and styles, deliberations seek "Excellence On Its Own Terms".Each entry is evaluated on the achievement of standards established within its own context. Entries, for which a US$350 fee (US$225 for radio) is required, are self-selected by those making submissions.

Radio and Television Correspondents' Association

The Radio and Television Correspondents' Association of Washington, D.C. (RTCA) is an American broadcast journalism group of news reporters from around the world who cover the United States Congress. Founded in 1939, RTCA is best known for holding an annual dinner in Washington, D.C., not to be confused with the higher profile White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

Sander Vanocur

Sander "Sandy" Vanocur () (born Alexander Vinocur, January 8, 1928) is an American journalist.

Sound bite

A sound bite is a short clip of speech or music extracted from a longer piece of audio, often used to promote or exemplify the full length piece. In the context of journalism, a sound bite is characterized by a short phrase or sentence that captures the essence of what the speaker was trying to say, and is used to summarize information and entice the reader or viewer. The term was coined by the U.S. media in the 1970s. Since then, politicians have increasingly employed sound bites to summarize their positions.

Due to its brevity, the sound bite often overshadows the broader context in which it was spoken, and can be misleading or inaccurate. The insertion of sound bites into news broadcasts or documentaries is open to manipulation, leading to conflict over journalistic ethics.

Tabloid television

Tabloid television, also known as teletabloid, is a form of tabloid journalism. Tabloid television newscasts usually incorporate flashy graphics and sensationalized stories. Often, there is a heavy emphasis on crime, stories with good video, and celebrity news. It is a form of infotainment.

The United States is not the only television market with this genre of broadcasting. Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and France all have tabloid television programming that reflects this same down-market, sensationalist style of journalism and entertainment.

Todd Harris

Todd Harris is a sports announcer and reporter for NBC Sports, with current duties focused in Olympic and extreme sports. A graduate of Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in communications and broadcast journalism, Harris' sports media career began in 1991 with ESPN. While employed there through 2007, his workload mainly consisted of college football, the X Games, and IndyCar, which included the role of lap-by-lap announcer for ABC's coverage of the 2005 Indianapolis 500. In the past, he has also contributed to Turner Sports' coverage of the NBA playoffs and the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Vox populi

Vox populi ( VOKS POP-yoo-lee, -⁠lye) is a Latin phrase that literally means "voice of the people". It is used in English in the meaning "the opinion of the majority of the people". In journalism, vox pop or man on the street refers to short interviews with members of the public.

WTBU (radio station)

WTBU (640 kHz/89.3 MHz) is a "Part 15" student-managed and -operated radio station at Boston University. This means it is not licensed by the FCC but operates legally under special "low power" rules (not to be confused with LPFM FCC licensed stations). It has a block-format programming schedule, with individual DJs able to play pretty much whatever they choose during their weekly airshifts (usually two hours in length). Overall the sound skews mostly rock/alternative, but can vary significantly, including pop, urban, rap, classic rock, Triple-A, trance, electro, industrial and metal...or just true freeform.

WTBU is on the air 20 hours a day, any day that the BU dorms are open (at least eight months of the year). During the summers the studios may be used for special classroom exercises by the Boston University College of Communication, or "COM."

Taking advantage of the large number of broadcast journalism majors at COM, there are regular newscasts and sports updates. There is also extensive live coverage of BU sporting events, like hockey, basketball, soccer and more.WTBU is entirely "student managed." There is a faculty advisor with some oversight duties. Virtually all positions are unpaid volunteers. There is an informal policy of only having current students to be on the air; community volunteers and alumni are not allowed.

There is no formal class curriculum specifically for radio broadcasting at B.U., save for some broadcast journalism classes in COM that include radio.

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