How To Become A News Reporter
A news reporter informs the public about the significant events happening locally, nationally or internationally. Aside from television, you can work for radio, magazines, newspapers and websites. In order to get your news, you will be going to the field to get to the bottom of a story that a news director or editor has assigned to you. You will be interviewing those who are directly related to an incident or analysts and experts whose opinions about a matter are highly-valued.
If you are working for television or radio, you can do your interviews and record your report to be broadcast at specific times of the day for particular news programs. You are expected to make different versions of your story if the station has different news programs. For breaking news, you can be called upon to cover it live as it happens. You are expected to follow the news story as it develops and provide updates when you have gathered them.
If you happen to be working as a news reporter for print media, you will be writing articles for newspapers and magazines. Before submitting, you need to ensure that your reports are accurate, properly sourced and free from grammatical errors. An integral part of your job is linking with contacts who can give you leads on potential news stories. It’s also important that you cultivate good relationships with them as they can help provide the information you need.
In this day and age when news appears on websites as they unfold, news reporters have made it a point to maintain social media accounts so they can give updates on live events, give more information to audiences and answer their questions as well. Thus, you need to be working with social media and the Internet as well.
Why Become A News Reporter
A career as a news reporter is for those who genuinely love recent events. It is for those who are energized by the challenge of running after a source and getting an interview and digging at various documents in order to find the truth. Another reason to become a news reporter is that it gives you the opportunity to become a well-known and respected media personality who the public can rely on for fair and unbiased news reporting. It also gives one the opportunity to travel to various places locally and abroad.
Successful news reporters are objective. They need to report the facts and not put in their opinions about the story because they are not broadcast news analysts. They also need to have great interpersonal skills as they will be interacting with many different individuals in the course of their gathering and reporting their news stories.
They also need to be persistent in getting their story even when denied interviews many times. They must have good writing and speaking skills because they need to ensure that the news they deliver is clear and understandable. They must also be honest and credible because the public trusts them to provide them with accurate and timely information.
News Reporter Work Environment
News reporters can work for newspaper publishers, television broadcasting, data processing and other information services and radio broadcasting industries. While they may spend some time at the office to attend staff meetings, most of their work is done on the field where they are covering events, interviewing people or getting hold of documents to form their story. They write and send their stories while on the field.
News reporters play a very vital role in bringing current events to the world. They work for print, broadcast and online media outfits. The task of gathering news is challenging, pressure-filled and even dangerous at times, particularly if they are covering natural calamities, wars or disasters. The job can be stressful as it pressures news reporters to meet deadlines and be the first to cover breaking news. They work long hours, with work during evenings, weekends and holidays a regular feature of the job.
News reporters are determined to bring fresh information to citizens and audiences who need to know the events that will affect them directly or indirectly.
News Reporter Salary
The May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of reporters and correspondents is $44,360. Broadcast news analysts are paid significantly higher at $84,710. However, reporters and correspondents receive higher pay than radio and television announcers that receive an annual pay of $41,800.
Average News Reporter Annual Salary
The average annual salary for news reporters is $51,550 a year. Salaries start at $22,970 a year and go up to $90,540 a year.
Average News Reporter Hourly Wage
The average hourly wage for a news reporter is $24.79. Hourly wages are between $11.04 and $43.53 an hour.
Stats were based out of 38,790 employed news reporters in the United States.
Highest Paying States For News Reporters
- 1. District of Columbia $42.48 / hr $88,350 / yr
- 2. New York $36.82 / hr $76,590 / yr
- 3. Alaska $31.46 / hr $65,440 / yr
- 4. California $26.48 / hr $55,070 / yr
- 5. New Jersey $26.44 / hr $55,000 / yr
Top Paying Cities For News Reporters
- 1. Washington, DC $38.93 / hr$80,980 / yr
- 2. New York, NY $37.67 / hr$78,360 / yr
- 3. Detroit, MI $33.36 / hr$69,390 / yr
- 4. Atlanta, GA $33.04 / hr$68,730 / yr
- 5. Phoenix, AZ $32.19 / hr$66,950 / yr
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
News Reporter Career Outlook
The outlook for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts is not very promising. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that from the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, their employment is set to decline 13 percent. From the 57,600 employed in 2012, the number will decline to 50,400 in 2022. The decline is due to the lowered advertising revenue in traditional media sources like radio, television and newspapers which will be detrimental to the employment growth of these jobs.
Because of the decline in revenue, these media sources will compel many news organizations to hire only fewer reporters. Because of the decline, there will be strong competition for jobs. The best opportunities will go to news reporters who are adept at multiple multimedia platforms.
News Reporter Degree
An entry point to this job is a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or related field. However, those with degrees in political science, English and others and possess related work experience in school papers or other media outlets may also be hired.
Because of the way news is being relayed through digital channels these days, aspiring news reporters would also be at an advantage if they have taken courses in programming, multimedia design and coding. These courses would also teach them how to come up with more compelling stories that contain video, audio and other graphics. A student may get practical experience on the job by getting multiple internships from various news outlets. Advancement in the field can happen as the news reporter gets more experience. They can become editors or news directors in their media organization.
Another form of advancement can be moving from being simply a small-town reporter to working in news outlets in bigger cities. The latter often pays more and provides more challenging assignments.