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Radio News Editor - Job Profile

About the role

Radio news editors review information and content in order to help manage radio news bulletins be it for one single station or a network of stations. Some editors may be a part of the news team and be responsible for reporting on air and can be expected to carry out the same jobs as broadcast journalists do. Others in bigger organisations may act more as producers, assigning stories to reporters or formatting daily output or commissioning work from outside providers. Some news editors may be in charge of several news teams in very complex operations.

Most news editors organize presenters and reporters, advising them of the reporting that needs to be achieved and guiding them in the right direction for a good story. They have to be able to check progress of the work and be able to critique the work as necessary. News editors need to have a thorough understanding of reporting and journalism especially around the law and will be the first point of control regarding any complaints. A good understanding of broadcast equipment and how to get the best out of it is a must for a news editor.

What is the Job?

The main role of an editor is to scrutinize headlines, stories and scripts in order to ensure that bulletins present factual information that is compliant with industry standards and the law. They are required to be creative in generating news stories and the way that they are covered. News editors set the agenda and ensure that it fits in with the style and brand of the station and it’s listenership.

Since news radio stations broadcast around the clock, news editors can typically work long and strange hours that may involve evenings and weekends. As part of the job news editors may research local events, check information, follow up with interviewees and write headlines or content. Additionally, news editors also work with the stations production team in order to develop ideas for radio shows.

News editors must have strong communication skills as they have to liaise with employees, management, the public, outside bodies, celebrities and heads of other departments. News editors need to be well organised, analytical and have a desire for investigation. They need to be able to motivate their team and delegate work to others that are passionate about journalism. News editors must stay constantly in touch with the news going on in their local area as well as stories breaking nationally. News editors need to be able to see where national stories may impact on local people and the community that the station serves.

Typical career routes

Most news editors will have spent time crafting their skills as a news reporter or news reader. Most will have spent time gaining qualifications such as a bachelor’s degree in journalism or broadcast communications. This is not always the case and some have worked their way up the ranks in house to the top spot. News editors need to demonstrate sound editorial judgement and will have a wealth of experience to draw on.

The career progression for a news editor is via relocating to a larger station with a larger audience base or by joining a big group of stations. Some news editors have moved across into television, the print news industry or gone into senior management.

Essential knowledge and skills

News Editors need the following:
A good understanding of what will make a good news story
Excellent story writing skills that can be tailored to different audiences
The ability to be creative and generate original content
Remain neutral and report on stories without bias, remaining fair and balanced at all times
A thorough understanding of the law, industry regulation and their application to radio broadcasting
Excellent writing and story-telling skills which they can adapt for different audiences and platforms
A full understanding of the radio market and the different programme styles and listener demographics
Sound editorial judgement and be able to work under pressure and to tight timescales
Excellent communication, leadership and delegation skills
Be numerate and have the ability to plan and manage financial budgets
Organise staff rotas and training schedules
The ability to give feedback and manage team performance
Be able to review analyse and critique the station’s news output
Knowledge of what licences are required, relevant clearances including music are needed and copyright regulations
Knowledge of health and safety especially working outdoors and on location
IT skills including keyboard and word processing skills and broadcast studio equipment
Be able to use audio editing software and have a knowledge of creating content for different media such as blogs, podcasts and websites

Training & qualifications

News editors need to acquire the knowledge of a wide range of topics and editorial issues. This can be gained through working as a broadcast journalist or a news reporter. They need to gain a grounding in media law and the radio industry regulations and demonstrate the practical application of that knowledge.

Most employers offer their employees a variety of training opportunities to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. Training will depend on the size of the organisation and could consist of in house training or more structured external courses by learning providers.

News editors will also require training in basic management skills which can be given in house or by attending night school or short day release courses. News editors wishing to progress further into higher management will need to attend professional development courses at college or university.

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