How to Become a Reporter

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


The news plays an essential part in many aspects of human lives. It educates people on events that happen all over the world. Trained professionals are required to accurately relay the news in a variety of news formats. This is the job of reporters.

What does a reporter do?

Reporters collect information, prepare stories, and broadcast information to inform the public about news events occurring at the local, state, national, and international level. They also give points of view of current topics. Reporters are responsible for covering news stories and they look into leads and tips, examine documents, conduct interviews, and observe actions at the scene. They also gather information from different sources such as press releases, public records, and other stories. They often take notes, photographs, and video documentation. In the office environment, reporters organize the material needed for their story, write and edit the story, and include evidence material.

Reporters who are considered general-assignment reporters write about interesting events that catch people’s attention such as accidents, disasters, loss of life, business closings, political rallies, celebrity lives, and significant global events. Large newspapers and television and radio stations typically assign reporters to write on specific issues such as education or crime. Some reporters specialize in certain areas including politics, health, sports, foreign affairs, consumer affairs, theater, social events, business, science, and religion.

What kind of training does a reporter need?

Most employers prefer reporters who have a bachelor degree in mass communications or journalism. Some reporters have a master or doctoral degree in journalism. Practical experience is a very important part of becoming a successful reporter. Many future reporters gain hands-on experience through part-time or summer jobs and by completing internships in news environments. Some gain experience by broadcasting on school or local stations, writing for high school and college newspapers, or writing for community newspapers.

What are the prospects for a career as a reporter?

Employment of reporters is projected to have little or no change in growth, increasing 2% through 2016 (1). The continued demand for news will result in some job openings.

Job prospects are expected to be fair with keen competition. Reporters with background in online magazines and newspapers and a journalism education background will have the best prospects. There will also be a need to replace reporters who leave the field by retiring or for other reasons.

How much do reporters make?

As of 2012, the middle 50% of reporters earned annual salaries between $28,606 and $34,707. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $37,461 (2).

A career as a reporter is a great choice for people who are interested in relaying the news to the public and feel comfortable on camera. Reporters should be committed to providing truthful and unbiased news. Having persistence, a nose for news, initiative, resourcefulness, poise, great memory, and good physical stamina are necessary traits.

Becoming a Reporter Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

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Are you serious about becoming a Reporter? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Course Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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