Reporters provide the latest analysis, coverage and updates on current events for the public on a wide range of subjects, including political stories, business developments and local, national or international news. A reporter will compose articles for online publications, newspapers and print magazines or scripts for radio and television.
Duties and responsibilities
- Attend press conferences, media events or on-the-ground locations where the news is breaking
- Interview public officials, authority sources (analysts, professors and personalities) and entertainment figures
- Participate in media scrums and ask pertinent questions related to relevant people
- Gather as much information as possible for your article, either first- or second-hand
- Verify and double-check all the information you obtain, whether it is from first-hand reporting or second-hand sourcing
- Compose news stories that answer the five Ws regarding the topic at hand (who, what, when, where, why)
- Edit and proofread your assignments and then make any additional changes upon request
- Transcribe your recordings to jot down an accurate quote of the source
- Share your work on social media and craft tweets or posts to generate traction for your story
- Build a database of reliable sources to turn to for current and future assignments
- Coordinate with other journalists, videographers and editors for composing an article
- Snap photographs on your smartphone when attending events, demonstrations or newsworthy affairs
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally
As a reporter, you can expect a demanding work schedule that might require plenty of overtime in evenings, weekends or holidays, particularly when a breaking news story happens or when deadlines need to be met.
You can also expect to work at two main locations: a news desk and where the news is unfolding. For example, if you are a political reporter, then you will file your assignments at the head office, but you will gather the news on Capitol Hill, at the state legislature or inside city hall.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications
To become a reporter, you’ll typically need to possess a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, broadcast journalism, English or media. If you decide to specialise in a specific field, such as business, arts and entertainment, science or technology, then a relevant degree will generally suffice.
After surviving and thriving in the field, you can eventually become a bureau chief, editor, editorial director, television analyst, weekend anchor or chief correspondent. It really depends on your specialty and the company you work for. Indeed, the career opportunities at a print newspaper will be vastly different than the ones offered at an online publication.