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Newspaper Reporter

Career Highlights

  • Working in the field
  • Interacting with a variety of people
  • Doing in-depth research on an array of topics
  • Publishing work in public forum

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Career Summary

The career of a newspaper reporter can be exciting and dynamic, but it can also be hectic and demanding. Newspaper reporters are responsible for finding and investigating news events, and compiling the information they uncover into a written story to be published. Because of the high-profile nature of their work, some reporters even develop a public notoriety or minor celebrity.

This work involves a number of skills, including a high level of self-motivation, an analytical mind, and a willingness to sometimes work long or irregular hours, as reporters are under pressure to meet deadlines. Also important are a reporter's communication and writing skills, knowledge of grammar and style rules, which may change from publication to publication, knowledge of first amendment rights, and adherence to some sort of code of ethics, as reporters are often dealing with the personal lives of private citizens.

Covering a story usually involves receiving tips, reading press releases or witnessing events, and investigating to find out more. Reporters spend about half of their time in the field talking to people, reading documents, observing events and taking photos or video. Once the necessary information is gathered, the reporter returns to the office to organize the information, decide on a story angle and write and edit the story.

Common news items can include any number of events warranting the publication's attention, such as:

  • accidents
  • political rallies
  • police investigations
  • visiting celebrities
  • changes in legislation
  • sporting events
  • foreign events of local interest

Specialized publications have a specialized focus, and stories are typically assigned, unless the reporter requests to cover a particular event. Often, reporters are assigned to a category, such as crime, sports, entertainment or features. In these cases, reporters cultivate regular sources they may go to for story tips.

Entrants into the field of newspaper reporting are generally required to have a BA in journalism or communications, and most employers prefer some experience with school newspapers or internships. Competition is strong for jobs at major national newspapers and magazines, with the best opportunities being available at smaller or Web-based publications.




Education requirements:

  • BA in journalism or communications
  • Experience with student publications or internships

Career Skills

  • Writing and communication
  • Note-taking
  • Information gathering
  • Organization
  • Self-motivation
  • Knowledge of ethics, rights

Additional Information

Employment Development Department

Wikipedia - Reporter


Labor Bureau Occupational Handbook



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*Salary ranges based on location, experience, and demand. This number represents a rough nation-wide average.