Programme researcher: job description

Programme researchers organise, plan and coordinate the production of television and radio programmes and undertake relevant background research.

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They make sure that television and radio programmes are as entertaining and well-informed as possible.

What does a programme researcher do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities include:

  • generating programme ideas
  • gathering, fact-checking and presenting relevant information, facts and figures
  • organising meetings and interviews with appropriate people
  • writing and editing briefing notes and scripts
  • conducting interviews
  • briefing programme presenters
  • booking production equipment and staff
  • preparing cost accounts.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate their ability to work under pressure and to deadlines. The industry is dominated by short-term contracts, making for a varied and interesting working life.

Typical employers of programme researchers

Programme researchers are employed by independent production companies and television, radio and cable companies. Experienced researchers may be able to obtain freelance work.

Opportunities are advertised via the internet, national newspapers and specialist publications such as Campaign , Broadcast and their respective websites. Networking, job shadowing and speculative applications are advisable.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this profession for both university graduates and school leavers.

A degree in any discipline is acceptable for entry, although a relevant qualification in journalism, English, public relations, media studies, history or similar may be preferred. Specialist knowledge may be necessary for some positions. A postgraduate journalism qualification can be helpful for graduates without relevant degrees.

To find out how to get into a career in this area via a school leaver route, visit TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for programme researchers

  • Enthusiasm
  • Determination
  • Perseverance
  • Excellent verbal and written skills
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Organisational skills
  • Administrative skills
  • IT skills

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