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Reporters picture    Reporters image

Reporters are a type of journalist. They investigate, analyze, and prepare the facts of a newsworthy event or issue for the purpose of disseminating and informing the public through mass media such as newspapers, news magazines, documentaries, television, radio, and the Internet. Stories covered by Reporters can be written or spoken and are expected to be delivered in an objective and unbiased manner. Stories range from local, to state, to world events, as well s occurrences focused on the actions and words of people in public office and entertainment, and those in positions of power and influence. Other titles for individuals in this profession include News Reporter, Television (or TV) Reporter, General Assignment Reporter, and News Director.

Some Reporters are tasked/assigned with covering special interest stories such as education or crime (or police beats). Those who are employed by large television or radio stations and newspapers typically specialize in covering specific fields of interest such as health, science, religion, consumer affairs, sports, or theater. Reporters who are employed by small publications generally cover all facets of the news and perform a variety of functions that include but are not limited to: writing headlines and editorials, taking photographs, creating page layouts, editing wire-service stories, selling subscriptions, and soliciting advertisements.

Reporters gather and investigate information through a variety of ways that include witnessing an event first-hand, interviewing people, receiving 'tips' from reliable sources, reading press releases, and learning about special announcements - all the while verifying all pieces of information. Reporters divide their time between performing the groundwork for a story and time spent in a newsroom where they (typically) write their stories and review and edit associated videos. In some circumstances, a Reporter will submit the information they've gathered and a news writer will write the story. At times, the Reporter may subsequently tape a commentary on, or introduction to, a story (from the studio). Investigative Reporters cover events that can easily take anywhere from several days to weeks to gather information and work on stories.

When writing a story, a Reporter takes into consideration the editorial style of the agency or organization for whom they are working. For example, TV and radio Reporters will consider the format of the TV or radio show from which their report will be delivered. Generally, these types of Reporters write their stories and broadcast live from the scene of the event or news source.

Job Characteristics

Most Reporters work a full-time schedule; some work part-time. Due to the demanding and hectic nature of this profession, an individual can expect to work long and irregular hours; deadline pressures are extremely high. Reporters will, at times, experience interruptions during their workday and may be required to modify their schedule to jump on a late-breaking event or meet a deadline. They may also be required to travel, typically in a car, van, or truck. Morning newspaper Reporters generally work from late afternoon until midnight; magazine Reporters work daytime hours; and, TV and radio Reporters work (or are assigned) to a day or evening shift.

Reporters work both indoors and outdoors. The offices in which Reporters work vary, where some work in private, comfortable offices, while others work in large rooms with other Reporters where they contend with the sounds of voices, computer printers, keyboards, phones, etc. Reporters who broadcast directly from an event location have their own set of issues to contend with as they may have their attention diverted by various emergency workers and curious onlookers. And, it goes without saying that covering fires, floods, protests, war, and events similar in nature are dangerous.

The key skills and abilities possessed by an individual in this profession include:

  • strong communication - oral and written
  • active listening
  • relationship building
  • deductive reasoning and problem solving
  • critical thinking
  • social awareness
  • sound judgment
  • persistence
  • accuracy
  • inquisitiveness
  • time, people, and project management skills
  • independence
  • team player

Individuals are also expected to have a strong command of the English language, knowledge of computer software and hardware, and telecommunications equipment, as well as a strong sense of the principles of business and management. It is also helpful for an individual to possess desktop publishing and graphics skills, as well as knowledge of news photography (will likely come in handy for those just entering the profession as their responsibilities may combine reporting with photography).

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS), which combines employment forecasting for Reporters with News Analysts and Correspondents, expects a two percent growth between 2006 and 2016, which is considered "little or no change in employment." Differing factors are expected to contribute to the slow growth in this profession. For example, in the broadcasting and publishing industries, consolidations and mergers will enable organizations to better allocate Reporters, News Analysts, and Correspondents when assigning and covering stories. Technological advancements will continue to play its part as workers will increasingly be better equipped to efficiently cover stories or specific news events, resulting in a reduced number individuals needed to participate in story/news coverage. On the flip side, the demand for news will continue to foster employment opportunities and replacements will be needed for individuals who leave their occupation, or move on to other roles.

Communications and Jouranalism Schools

Prospective employers prefer individuals who possess a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communications to those without. It is worth noting that newspapers and broadcasting stations in large cities may prefer journalists who are degreed in a specific subject area such as political science or economics; they may also lean toward hiring only experienced Reporters.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, greater than 1,500 institutions offer programs in journalism, communications, and other related programs. In 2007, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications accredited 109 of the 1,500. In general, program courses are focused in two areas: liberal arts and journalism.

Liberal arts courses that would be helpful to individuals entering this field include English with a focus on:

  • political science
  • sociology
  • economics
  • psychology
  • history
  • writing

Journalism courses include:

  • basic reporting and copy editing
  • introductory mass media
  • history of journalism
  • ethics
  • press law

Other helpful courses include business, computer science, and speech. Courses in radio and television news and production will be important to those seeking a career in broadcasting. And, for those seeking careers in magazines and newspapers, specializing in news-editorial journalism will be equally important. Because an individual in this role, creates stories for online media they will be required to learn and apply the skills needed to use computer software in order to merge an online story with video and audio graphics and elements.

Individuals seeking rapid career advancement are advised to seek schools that offer a master's or Ph.D. program in journalism. Some graduate programs are focused on preparation for a career as a journalism researcher or teacher, for example, while others are focused on preparing for a career in the news.

It is worth noting that prospective employers tend to seek individuals with prior experience from a variety of sources (e.g., as a newspaper stringer or freelancer; experience from working in broadcasting stations, high school or college newspapers, and internships with news organizations).

For individuals in or entering high school, a good foundation in this profession can start with courses in journalism, English, and social studies.

Advancement

In general, a Reporter will begin their career as Copy Editor or General Assignment Reporter in a small broadcast station or publication. As they hone their skills, broaden their knowledge, and gain their experience, they will report on more difficult events and assignments or focus in a specific field. Some individuals advance in their career by: moving on to larger broadcast stations or publication; becoming publishing or broadcasting industry managers; or taking on supervisory roles, positions as Program Managers in broadcast journalism, or Editors in print journalism.

Resources

Major Employers

According to the USDL BLS (grouping together Reporters, News Analysts, and Correspondents), "competition will continue to be keen for jobs on large metropolitan and national newspapers, broadcast stations and networks, and magazines. Small broadcast stations and publications and online newspapers and magazines should provide the best opportunities." Additionally, writers who are adept at "highly specialized scientific or technical subjects," will find themselves having the advantage.

Schools for Reporters are listed in the column to the left.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Reporters

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Reporters jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 110 $30,530
Hoover 110 $30,530
Montgomery 90 $42,030
Mobile 30 $45,750
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 80 $44,680
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 510 $41,970
Mesa 510 $41,970
Phoenix 510 $41,970
Tucson 100 $36,200
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 100 $38,080
North Little Rock 100 $38,080
Little Rock 100 $38,080
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 1770 $39,010
Long Beach 1770 $39,010
Los Angeles 1770 $39,010
Hayward 480 $42,710
Oakland 480 $42,710
San Francisco 480 $42,710
San Diego 270 $39,480
Carlsbad 270 $39,480
Arcade 230 $39,370
Sacramento 230 $39,370
Roseville 230 $39,370
Arden 230 $39,370
Riverside 140 $40,320
San Bernardino 140 $40,320
Ontario 140 $40,320
Sunnyvale 140 $46,060
Santa Clara 140 $46,060
San Jose 140 $46,060
Fresno 130 $43,740
Santa Maria 60 $36,570
Santa Barbara 60 $36,570
Salinas 40 $41,130
Modesto N/A $54,710
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 450 $43,110
Aurora 450 $43,110
Denver 450 $43,110
Colorado Springs 130 $37,340
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 120 $39,540
West Hartford 120 $39,540
Hartford 120 $39,540
New Haven 50 $33,520
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 630 $38,230
Fort Lauderdale 630 $38,230
Miami 630 $38,230
Sanford 460 $47,880
Kissimmee 460 $47,880
Orlando 460 $47,880
Tampa 380 $38,220
Clearwater 380 $38,220
St. Petersburg 380 $38,220
Fort Myers 290 $30,560
Cape Coral 290 $30,560
Jacksonville 120 $35,310
Sarasota 100 $36,100
Bradenton 100 $36,100
North Port 100 $36,100
Daytona Beach 50 $36,690
Deltona 50 $36,690
Ormond Beach 50 $36,690
Sebastian 40 $37,920
Vero Beach 40 $37,920
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Atlanta 650 $51,170
Roswell 650 $51,170
Sandy Springs 650 $51,170
Albany 40 $37,020
Clarke County 30 $33,270
Athens 30 $33,270
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 80 $44,480
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 120 $29,880
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 40 $28,530
Springfield 40 $35,050
Rockford 30 $33,310
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 350 $45,460
Anderson 350 $45,460
Carmel 350 $45,460
West Lafayette 40 $27,600
Lafayette 40 $27,600
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 250 $35,750
Des Moines 250 $35,750
Cedar Rapids N/A $28,300
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 150 $29,970
Lawrence N/A $29,120
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 110 $49,910
Lexington 110 $49,910
Bowling Green 40 $25,310
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 140 $47,320
New Orleans 140 $47,320
Baton Rouge 120 $30,700
Lafayette N/A $29,390
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 90 $32,460
South Portland 90 $32,460
Bangor N/A $29,770
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 190 $49,040
Columbia 190 $49,040
Baltimore 190 $49,040
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Gardner N/A $35,020
Leominster N/A $35,020
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 540 N/A
Warren 540 N/A
Detroit 540 N/A
Wyoming 80 $30,740
Grand Rapids 80 $30,740
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 70 $33,370
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Joplin 30 $22,190
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 60 $27,900
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 120 N/A
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 170 $51,570
Henderson 170 $51,570
Las Vegas 170 $51,570
Reno 60 $34,970
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 110 $47,730
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 90 $40,670
Santa Fe 40 $34,460
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 130 $35,390
Troy 130 $35,390
Schenectady 130 $35,390
Rochester 100 $41,550
Syracuse 90 $39,600
Buffalo N/A $30,440
Cheektowaga N/A $30,440
Niagara Falls N/A $30,440
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 90 $39,190
Durham 80 $50,270
Chapel Hill 80 $50,270
Asheville 70 $38,410
Greensboro 60 $27,460
High Point 60 $27,460
Wilmington 60 $27,600
Winston 40 $39,290
Salem 40 $39,290
Morganton 30 $26,930
Hickory 30 $26,930
Lenoir 30 $26,930
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 60 $28,000
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 400 $33,840
Elyria 400 $33,840
Columbus 260 $30,110
Toledo 110 $31,360
Akron 60 $46,790
Massillon 50 $38,020
Canton 50 $38,020
Mansfield 40 $26,480
Lima 40 $29,110
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 210 $33,850
Tulsa 70 $34,300
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Medford 60 $33,460
Salem N/A $30,150
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 300 $36,440
Scranton 100 $33,150
Hazleton 100 $33,150
Wilkes 100 $33,150
Barre 100 $33,150
Harrisburg 70 $29,280
Carlisle 70 $29,280
Lancaster N/A $31,880
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 320 $36,800
Carolina 320 $36,800
San Juan 320 $36,800
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Charleston 90 $30,390
Charleston 90 $30,390
Mauldin 70 $43,530
Greenville 70 $43,530
Anderson 70 $43,530
Columbia N/A $35,800
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 70 $30,970
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 240 $35,770
Murfreesboro 240 $35,770
Davidson 240 $35,770
Nashville 240 $35,770
Knoxville 80 $40,260
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 530 $33,780
Dallas 530 $33,780
Fort Worth 530 $33,780
The Woodlands 360 $37,830
Sugar Land 360 $37,830
Houston 360 $37,830
Austin 170 $38,040
Round Rock 170 $38,040
San Antonio 150 $26,570
New Braunfels 150 $26,570
Amarillo 60 $24,220
Mission 60 $25,920
Edinburg 60 $25,920
McAllen 60 $25,920
Port Arthur 50 $29,340
Beaumont 50 $29,340
El Paso 50 $38,790
Harlingen 40 $27,240
Brownsville 40 $27,240
Killeen 40 $30,190
Temple 40 $30,190
Corpus Christi 40 $32,280
Abilene N/A $26,090
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 230 $30,090
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 50 $38,100
Burlington 50 $38,100
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roanoke 50 $39,270
Richmond 50 $40,700
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 580 $39,550
Seattle 580 $39,550
Tacoma 580 $39,550
Spokane Valley 70 $36,850
Spokane 70 $36,850
Richland N/A $33,060
Kennewick N/A $33,060
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 80 $33,690
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Waukesha 250 $34,060
West Allis 250 $34,060
Milwaukee 250 $34,060
Madison 160 $30,960
Green Bay 100 $29,510
Eau Claire 50 $27,050
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 30 $32,140

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Reporters

To find out more about building a career as Reporters, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Reporters

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Traditional Publishing 37,510 74% $33,430
Media And Broadcasting 9,990 19% $37,810
Other Information Services 1,830 3% $54,240
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Reporters.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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