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The age of video journalism is widespread due to the online media giant YouTube. Video journalists, the jack of all trades in journalism, produce, write and report the news solo. Since about 2008, they have found themselves in a position of opportunity as the industry tightens up and news organizations try to get the most bang for their buck by hiring one individual to perform a job that used to take a team.
Video journalists are journalists with multiple hats. They are the new representation of the news reporter, having the technical skill to create a whole news story from the ground up, handling all the different jobs that go with producing a news story from start to finish.
The four main functions of a video journalist are producer, reporter, video operator and video editor.
As producers, they develop and plan a live or taped video segments. This can include setting up interviews, determining where a segment is to be shot or selecting the different shots to be used.
As reporters, they compile data from various sources, investigate, analyze and write their stories, editing as needed. In essence, they combine the duties with that of a news writer, deciding what particular slant a story will take.
As cameramen, they operate their own camera. This is possible through reporting in a static shot and placing the camera on a tripod to prevent it from moving.
Because many times video journalists will be on location, both in front of the camera and operating it, they need to take the footage they've acquired and create news segments suitable for broadcasting. This requires them to have knowledge of video editing equipment.
The work hours fluctuate for a video journalist as stories can crop up any time during the day. A story can range from a labor strike to an accident. Sometimes these hours are long, and there's always a looming deadline to meet.
Reporters can be freelance or work for a particular station. In the latter case, employers prefer a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications or journalism.
More than 1,500 colleges across the United States offer some kind of program in journalism or communications. Out of those, more than 100 were accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Most employers are looking for some practical experience.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50 percent of reporters earned $25,000 to $52,000 annually as of May 2008 with the median salary around $32,000 annually.