Developing a Nose for News
News reporting has never been more important in the world than it is today, as journalists struggle to deliver the real facts to the general public. If the idea of fighting to get the real story out there is your idea of a worthy challenge, you might consider a career as a news reporter. Although your work hours may be unpredictable and your pay mediocre, at around $46,560, you'll have immense job satisfaction and serve as a great role model for your kids.
Television, newspapers, radio or internet―a news reporter never had so many options. News reporters provide news to a public audience from the newsroom, city streets, the state capital, or wherever things are happening. Those reporters who work for news agencies may get assigned stories, but others may simply be told to snoop around for stories and current events on their "beat."
Once reporters have a story, they must investigate it thoroughly, then write it as quickly as they can with accuracy, since news is a very competitive industry. They strive to get thorough information and present a range of views to present a rich and unbiased account of events. They go to press conferences, conduct personal interviews, observe events in person and research issues to investigate their leads, then sit down to assemble the information into a coherent whole in the story.
No formal educational requirements exist for journalists. Different employers are interested in different types of backgrounds and experience in journalists. However, the job market is competitive. Most aspiring reporters have a solid education, usually starting with a bachelor's degree in journalism, broadcasting or communications. Many gain work experience via internships or by assisting more established reporters. To develop a portfolio of published articles, others sell freelance articles, volunteer as a journalist or write for the college newspaper.
Median pay for a news reporter is $46,560 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that half of all news reporters earn more than this, and half earn less. In cable and other subscription programming, the average salary is significantly higher, at $54,780, while generally, in television and radio, the average salary is $51,430. Although advanced college degrees might give you a better chance of being hired in this competitive field, they are not likely to earn you a much higher salary.
The majority of news reporters write for magazines, newspapers and book publishers. It's also common for news reporters to work for television and radio networks as well as internet news outlets.
Years of Experience
Entry-level news reporters may earn some $35,100, while those with a few years under their belts can earn $45,004. Experienced reports earn, on average, $53,310, while those at the end of their careers may earn $60,678.
Job Growth Trend
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for news reporters and correspondents working in print will decline by 10 percent over the next decade. They attribute this to declining advertising revenues and the merging of large publishing and broadcasting firms. However, work in internet news opportunities may grow over the same period.