What Does A News Reporter Do?
The media is referred to as the “fourth estate” because they see to it that the three main branches of government don’t abuse the political process in a democracy. At the forefront of shaping public opinion are news reporters who see to that that the public is apprised of political events happening around the country. News reporters do more than monitor political events.
In a nutshell, the main task of news reporters is to tell people what is going on. They are basically responsible for delivering significant information to the public about all facets of life—political, social and economic, among others. Unlike historians who delve on events in the past, news reporters are in the middle of the action as an event unfolds. They chronicle history in the making. In addition to covering current events, they may also do human interest pieces.
News reporters can work in print, broadcast and new media. Sometimes, they get their assignments from editors before proceeding to do research on the story. At other times, they may investigate a story themselves. They often interview resource people to get to the bottom of an incident. In controversial stories or those where the resource person may be put in danger because of his revelation, reporters may even hold the identity of a person in strict confidence. Television reporters blur the image or interview the person in a dark room to prevent their identity from being revealed. Earning the trust of sources is one way of news reporters to develop their integrity and reputation.
Accuracy and timeliness are important traits that news reporters must possess. They see to it that the news reports they send to newspapers or magazines or the broadcast they make on radio or television is correct and free from errors. It is also their responsibility to provide updates on a developing story. News reporters should see to it that they are present when new developments break. News reporters also earn their reputation by providing correct and timely news stories to their readers and listeners.
The responsibility to portray accurate information is even more important in light of the fast-paced delivery of news stories in the digital age. Reporters must ensure that they give correct details because news has the power to influence people and shape government policies.
News reporters may need to travel to cover a particular news story. Those connected with local news outlets may simply have to go around the city or state while those working for national broadcasting stations or newspapers of national circulation may be tasked to get to the bottom of a news story in another part of the world.
The job of news reporters can be dangerous. They may be assigned to provide coverage from a warzone or calamity-stricken area. The expectation to be the first to break a news story often makes the job even more stressful. Despite the demands of the job, news reporters must continue to maintain calm and still be able to work efficiently even under the most extreme pressure.
The advent of the Internet and social media has also added another dimension to the job of news reporters. Many of them also produce work for their organization’s websites and even their own blogs. It is also common for news reporters to have social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook. These platforms allow them to report news as it happens and engage in real-time with their audience.
Being knowledgeable about modern technological advances is also part of the responsibilities of news reporters today. Since online platforms are becoming the avenues for delivering news today, reporters should include in their repertoire the ability to include graphics, videos or audio in their reports. They should be able to use social media platforms to get the news to more people in the fastest time possible.
To succeed in this career, reporters need to have excellent command of the English language. They should also be naturally curious and be willing to go out of their way to get the information they need. This career requires one to think out-of-the-box since there are cases when people would keep mum about a particular situation. News reporters must think of creative ways to still get the details of a story even without people providing information.