The easiest way to become a news cameraman is to study the field, learn how to handle a camera better than the competition, and cultivate contacts. For every cameraman position, there are dozens of applicants, but if you shake the right hands and take the right classes, you’ll find a way through.
- Study journalism. News recruiters prefer to hire candidates with formal schooling in journalism so this is an important step if you want to become a news cameraman. Many universities offer Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism or you can check out the local community college. These schools often offer introductory courses on the cheap.
- Create a killer demo reel. A demo tape is a must-have if you want to become a news cameraman. This visual résumé lets potential employers see what you can do. Even if you don’t have any professional experience, you can start collecting clips by volunteering at the city’s PBS station or your local public access television station. Make a lot of copies. You need to include a reel with each application and its rare to have them returned to you.
- Intern. Many full-time news cameramen start out as interns. Intern positions are great stepping stone to help you reach your goal to become a news cameraman. While interning you can add professional level clips to your résumé tape and make valuable contacts in the industry. Sure the pay sucks but every career path has to start somewhere.
- Join your local broadcaster’s association. Not only will you gain access to their job bank, the organization usually holds dinners and other events where you can meet people in the industry. Contacts are as good as currency in the news business. You have a better chance to become a news cameraman the more people you know in the business.
- Contact your local news station. When you’re ready to become a news cameraman, apply to all the local network news affiliates in your area. Mention any contacts you have within the station in your cover letter. Name dropping may seem tacky, but it works.