News Reporter: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for news reporters. Get the facts about degree requirements, and salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a News Reporter?

News reporters gather and disseminate the news, whether in print or broadcast form. They may cover anything from local to global news and events. News reporters usually begin covering a story by gathering information via interviews and research. Then they write articles or scripts for broadcast that clearly analyze, interpret and explain the information for the readers or viewers. News reporters must check their work for accuracy, as well as update and make any necessary changes if conditions change or new details arise. It is important for a news reporter to establish credibility and form positive relationships with experts and contacts in various fields that provide them with information. A brief overview of this career is profiled in the chart below.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Journalism, communications
Key Skills Communication, writing, public speaking, organization
Job Growth (2014-2024) -8%*
Median Salary (2015) $36,360*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a News Reporter Do?

News reporters investigate news stories by conducting interviews, identifying and researching sources of information and even taking photographs. Print reporters may also be called journalists. In some outlets, reporters cover specific subjects. The reporter who covers school issues may be an education reporter, while the reporter who writes about crime could be called a crime beat reporter. Others may cover a wider variety of subjects - these are sometimes called general assignment reporters.

In broadcast media, reporters may be called anchors, broadcast journalists or TV reporters. They, too, may be assigned specific topics, or beats. At smaller news outlets, news reporters may go wherever the story is, similar to general assignment news reporters.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

Many employers require that reporters have at least a bachelor's degree in journalism and some experience in the field. Typically, colleges offer 4-year Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism, with concentrations often available. Some schools differentiate between print journalism and broadcast journalism concentrations and some do not - but you may find that you can tailor your studies to either medium.

You'll take an introduction to broadcasting class, which covers filming techniques and training in writing for broadcasting; if you're a print journalism major, you'll take classes like feature article writing and newspaper or magazine editing. You'll also take classes in reporting and ethics. Since experience is such an important component when it comes to hiring a journalist, many schools require that students complete one or more internships to gain hands-on experience in their desired specialization.

What Skills Do News Reporters Need?

News reporters in either medium work with people. As such, they must have the skills to deal with the public, either on the telephone or in person, as many interviews are conducted in those ways. The Occupational Information Network, or O*Net Online, notes that reporters must be able to pay attention to their interview subjects and to express themselves clearly when interacting with others or writing their articles (http://online.onetcenter.org). Reporters must be able to organize their reporting and understand how to sequence information to make the most sense and for ease of reading. As a news reporter, you will likely use a computer to compose your work, so you must have word processing skills.

How Much Might I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 41,050 reporters and correspondents working in the United States in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted that they earned hourly annual wages of between $10.29 and $39.22, or between $21,390 and $81,580 per year, in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternative career options include editor, technical writer and film/video editor and camera operator. Editors work closely with writers and review writer's work prior to the publication of books, newspapers, magazines and more. Technical writers prepare written content for complex and technical subjects that may be found in things like instruction manuals. Film/video editors and camera operators control and change the visual images that an audience sees while watching the news, movies and more.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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