In the radio and television fields commentating is a popular form of journalism. Commentators are trained professional journalists that interpret the news and other information and provide their opinions and comments on a variety of topics to listeners, readers, and viewers.
What does a commentator do?
Commentators provide comments and opinions on subjects where they are very knowledgeable. They analyze the news and other public information and provide their comments based on their personal knowledge and experience. They obtain information and develop a perspective on the subject through research, experience, interviews, and by attending events such as news meetings, sports activities, political conventions, and social gatherings. They also evaluate and interpret information to create and outline ideas for stories. Some commentators write commentaries or columns for newspapers, magazines, or other publications. Many commentators specialize in discussing particular topics related to sports, health, fashion, and politics.
What kind of training does a commentator need?
Most employers prefer to hire commentators that have at least a bachelor degree in mass communications, journalism, or other related field and some related work experience. Many colleges and universities offer programs in journalism, communications, and other related areas. Prospective commentators typically complete courses in English, communications, journalism, composition, and radio and television news and production. Many aspiring commentators complete internships and gain part-time jobs at college broadcasting stations or local publications to gain practical experience in the field. Most employers provide some type of on the job training to enable new commentators to learn the policies and procedures of the company. Commentators complete continuing education and additional training as needed to keep their skills current and stay abreast with advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a commentator?
Employment of commentators is expected to decline moderately through 2018 (1). Consolidation and convergence of broadcasting companies will contribute to the employment decline.
Job prospects are expected to be fair with strong competition for positions with larger broadcast stations and publication companies. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace commentators that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.
How much do commentators make?
As of 2012, the average annual salary for commentators is $109,000; average commentator salaries for nationwide job postings are 69% higher than average salaries for nationwide job postings (2).
A career as a commentator is a great choice for people with a strong interest in journalism and providing their opinions and comments on a variety of issues. Commentators must be extremely knowledgeable about a variety of topics and be able to provide interesting comments. Organization, perseverance, accuracy, initiative, and resourcefulness are necessary characteristics. Commentators that work for radio and television broadcasting companies must have a pleasant voice and neat appearance. Commentators must also be emotionally stable and be able to work under stress and pressure to meet strict deadlines, complete dangerous assignments, and work irregular hours.
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(1) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition.
(2) SOURCE: Indeed.com, Salary Search