News camermen record a wide array of events.
A news cameraman shoots video for reports that are broadcast on television stations and websites. News camera operators are often referred to as photojournalists or videographers. Their jobs are vital: Without someone to operate a camera, there are no moving images to accompany a report. News cameramen often work odd hours, including nights and weekends. The news, after all, never sleeps.
News camera operators shoot everything from car accidents to presidential speeches to high school basketball games. Sometimes, they work in a broadcast studio, where they record the news anchors with cameras that rarely need to move. No matter the task, news camera operators need to know operate a variety of video equipment, as the methods of shooting news are constantly changing. Most usually sit down with a reporter in a news editing bay to prepare the footage shot for broadcast.
News cameramen must be alert and understand what makes compelling footage. They need to be outstanding communicators, as they almost always tell the reporter or anchor (or anyone else in the area) that the camera is recording. Often, what they shoot is “live,” meaning it is being broadcast without any editing possible. They also need to know the equipment used for editing video if they are putting together a “package,” a special report that will be broadcast at another time. News camera operators also must be creative, versatile and able to multitask, considering many are sent on a variety of assignments each day.
Most TV news stations require their news camera operators to have at least some college education. While a bachelor’s degree isn’t always necessary, the majority of news camera operators need to possess an associate’s degree, with an emphasis on courses in communications, camerawork and computer video editing. Some news cameramen spend time performing other tasks, such as putting up lighting in a news station or editing video shot by someone else, before being promoted into a position of a camera operator.
As long as there is news on TV and the Internet, there will be a need for someone to record it. So the outlook for news camera operators should always be good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for video cameramen in general are expected to increase by 11 percent through 2018, about the average for all occupations.
News camera operators made anywhere from $10.76 to $17.93 per hour in April 2010, according to PayScale.com. Much of those earnings depended on the type of news organization for which the camera operator was employed.