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Weather Reporter


Description

Weather is a phenomenon that is always on our minds and has an immense effect on different activities in our lives. For example, an outdoor company picnic might be rained out, whereas a baseball game will play rain or shine. The weather is a conversation starter and conversation piece for people who have nothing else to talk about. "How's the weather?" or "The weather is really starting to shape up" are just a few passing comments we hear every day. Yet, many people are truly affected by the weather and feel happier when it is sunny outside. Most people depend on weather forecasts and more specifically, the weather reporter for their daily and weekly forecasts. Weather reporters provide weather forecasts and other weather information to the public via television, radio and the Internet.

Weather reporters, also called weathercasters, report current and forecasted weather conditions. They gather information from national satellite weather services, wire services, and local and regional weather bureaus. Some weather reporters are trained meteorologists and can develop their own weather forecasts, but that is not a requirement of the job.

Audiences tune into weather broadcasts every day and invite reporters into their home, offices and cars to inform them of the latest meteorological happenings in the local community. Weather reporters on radio may pre-write their scripts, but on television, most have to work live and in an improvisational style. Some weather reporters are hired because of their perfect-sounding voices, and after listening to the same voices year after year, we grow to depend on them.

On television, weather reporters usually stand in front of a blank screen (which appears as a map to us) and point to different areas to describe weather systems and patterns. They play an important role in our society because they inform us about an important component of our lives. Reporters must be very comfortable in front of the camera. Their ultimate goal is to figure out how to present the weather report logically and interestingly so that people can understand, enjoy and use the information in their daily lives.

Since radio and television news is broadcast live, there is little room for error. This can be quite stressful for those who are inexperienced, camera shy or nervous since reporters usually love to have their voices heard. They are constantly on their toes; often improvising when need be in order to keep a live broadcast running smoothly. Weather reporters have a duty to provide accurate and impartial news. The reason accuracy is so important is to both serve the public with correct news. However, as we all know from experience, the weather reports are not 100 percent accurate and therefore we should always take that fact into consideration.
 
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  Interests and Skills  
Weather reporters must have pleasant sounding voices and good enunciation, and those working on television must have a neat and manicured appearance. They need to have a command of the English language and possess the ability to accurately pronounce foreign names (for international forecasting). Weather reporters usually exude self-confidence, have the ability to ad lib and provide interesting small talk. They should be enthusiastic, and have the ability to relate to an audience.

Weather reporters should be interested in the weather and other weather-related phenomena. They should have a natural curiosity about the weather and also be a bit aggressive. This industry is very competitive therefore, announcers must have clear set goals and go for them.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • May act as host or conduct proceedings of shows or programs
  • Read weather reports for radio and television
  • Report on weather conditions using information provided by weather forecasting services
  • Develop ways of presenting the weather in an interesting and informative fashion
  • May read commercials and public service messages
  • Announce time and station breaks
  • May research and write their own material
  • Weather reporters generally work five- to seven-hour shifts, which may include early mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays. Since many radio stations and television stations are on the air 24 hours a day, weather reporters can expect to work the graveyard shift when breaking into the career. The work can be stressful because live broadcasting allows little room for error. Weather reporters may work in comfortable, although sometimes crowded, studios or in soundproof broadcast booths at various outdoor locations, which may be in severe weather conditions. Weather reporters do not spend all of their working time on air and do hours of preparation work, attend staff meetings and other community events.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Weather reporters are primarily employed by radio and television stations and networks and by commercial firms that produce advertisements for radio or television. With the advent of special weather networks, news-based radio shows and the Internet, there are more jobs available from these private companies.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Weather reporters with experience can become local celebrities. They usually find work by marketing themselves through audition tapes and personal interviews. Other specialty areas that weather reporters can move into are music, traffic, sports or interviewing. Various weather reporters move between stations and develop significant followings. Weather reporters may also become programming directors, station managers, actors, news directors or executives with broadcasting companies.
 

  Educational Paths  
Most weather reporters have a university degree in broadcast journalism or a technical college degree in radio or television arts. It cannot hurt to have a background in meteorology, however to be a reporter, it is not essential. These days, aspiring weather reporters must volunteer at high school and college radio stations or local community stations. Everyone starting in this industry must start at the bottom and work their way up the weather ladder. That means entry-level positions will either be at small rural stations or the graveyard shift. Lastly, talent and ability, as demonstrated during an audition, are important hiring criteria.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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