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What Does A Reporter Do?

In journalism, a reporter is responsible for relaying truthful and reliable information to the public audience through various mediums such as print and media. A reporter must ensure to gather necessary and factual data that are supported by interviews and comments of those involved, remain unbiased in all aspects, produce a concise and comprehensive informational material within an allotted time, and efficiently coordinate with every staff. Furthermore, a reporter must remain professional at all times and adhere to the policies and regulations set by the company or network.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real reporter resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead to new partnership between RotoWire and NASCAR.com.
  • Lead team of researchers, writers to produce Emmy winning series on world's largest dinosaur.
  • Edit and revise press releases and submissions; proofread large amount of copy.
  • Cover NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR and general sports news events for as Dallas-based free-lance reporter.
  • Produce in-depth front-page stories on the men's soccer team, player profiles, multimedia videos and other weekly stories.
  • Cover live games - high school football, basketball, baseball, soccer, compile play-by-play statistics and compile stat sheets.
  • Cover local government, environmental issues and write features in addition to photography and pagination for twice-weekly newspaper.
  • Develop interesting and effective press releases, prepare information for media kits and maintain organization internet or intranet web pages.
  • Create and oversee Instagram account.
  • Proofread copy submit by other reporters.
Reporter Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Computer skills involves understanding how to operate a computer, as well as computer programs and applications.
Interpersonal skills involves being able to communicate efficiently with multiple people regarding your thoughts, ideas and feedback.

Reporter Overview

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a reporter is "should I become a reporter?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, reporter careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "decline" at -10% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a reporter by 2028 is -5,100.

Reporters average about $20.06 an hour, which makes the reporter annual salary $41,720. Additionally, reporters are known to earn anywhere from $26,000 to $66,000 a year. This means that the top-earning reporters make $40,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

It's hard work to become a reporter, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a production editor, assistant editor, managing editor, and associate editor.

Reporter Jobs You Might Like

Reporter Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 29% of Reporters are proficient in News Stories, On-Air, and Facebook. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Computer skills, and Interpersonal skills.

We break down the percentage of Reporters that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • News Stories, 29%

    Produced groundbreaking news stories and in-depth coverage of trends involving medical technology companies, managed care and health care delivery organizations.

  • On-Air, 7%

    Facilitated and proactively created an on-air news/information product for distribution to the Indiana University community.

  • Facebook, 6%

    Improved public image and community relations by integrating Facebook and additional social media sites.

  • Twitter, 5%

    Participated in experimental project documenting homelessness during a 24-hour period on Twitter.

  • Photography, 5%

    Interviewed persons of interest, organized event calendars, wrote regular articles, provided consistent photography, and helped paraphrase stock compilations

  • Instagram, 4%

    Created the SU Squirrel Instagram.

"news stories," "on-air," and "facebook" aren't the only skills we found reporters list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of reporter responsibilities that we found, including:

  • The most important skills for a reporter to have in this position are communication skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a reporter resume, you'll understand why: "reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts must be able to report the news" According to resumes we found, communication skills can be used by a reporter in order to "maintained relationships with sources, readers and community leaders through frequent communication. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform reporter duties is the following: computer skills. According to a reporter resume, "journalists should be able to use editing equipment and other broadcast-related devices." Check out this example of how reporters use computer skills: "covered e-commerce, internet telecommunication, and it ceos for china computer world. "
  • Interpersonal skills is also an important skill for reporters to have. This example of how reporters use this skill comes from a reporter resume, "to develop contacts and conduct interviews, reporters need to build good relationships with many people" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "developed strong interpersonal skills and secured trust of community leaders to gain competitive advantage. "
  • See the full list of reporter skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a reporter. We found that 76.3% of reporters have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 7.2% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most reporters have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every eight reporters were not college graduates.

    Those reporters who do attend college, typically earn either a journalism degree or a communication degree. Less commonly earned degrees for reporters include a english degree or a political science degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a reporter. We've found that most reporter resumes include experience from Gannett, Hearst, and Dow Jones. Of recent, Gannett had 19 positions open for reporters. Meanwhile, there are 19 job openings at Hearst and 15 at Dow Jones.

    If you're interested in companies where reporters make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at The Washington Post, The New York Times Company, and The Seattle Times Company. We found that at The Washington Post, the average reporter salary is $129,723. Whereas at The New York Times Company, reporters earn roughly $127,415. And at The Seattle Times Company, they make an average salary of $120,974.

    View more details on reporter salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a reporter include CBS, Associated Press, and ESPN. These three companies were found to hire the most reporters from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious reporters are:

      What Production Editors Do

      A production editor is responsible for checking publication materials before printing and distribution to ensure error-free and accurate content. Production editors must have excellent writing communication skills to perform editing and proofreading of materials efficiently, following strict requirements of publication deadlines. They also verify the resources of content, as well as identifying highly requested feature opportunities by coordinating with writers and other industry personalities. A production editor negotiates contract offers for writers, provides feedback reviews, and facilitates brainstorming sessions.

      In this section, we compare the average reporter annual salary with that of a production editor. Typically, production editors earn a $3,133 higher salary than reporters earn annually.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both reporters and production editors positions are skilled in news stories, seo, and press releases.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A reporter responsibility is more likely to require skills like "on-air," "facebook," "twitter," and "photography." Whereas a production editor requires skills like "production process," "layout," "production department," and "production schedules." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Production editors receive the highest salaries in the technology industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $74,769. But reporters are paid more in the media industry with an average salary of $51,612.

      On average, production editors reach similar levels of education than reporters. Production editors are 4.6% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 1.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of an Assistant Editor?

      An assistant editor is a professional responsible for assisting an editor-in-chief or editor-at-large of a newspaper, magazine, radio program, or website. Assistant editors hold meetings with staff and freelance writers to discuss new, fresh and original content for projects on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. They review assignments handed in by writers or reporters for sense, accuracy, readability, and content. Assistant editors must also utilize new media applications such as Twitter and Facebook to draw attention to an article or cause.

      Now we're going to look at the assistant editor profession. On average, assistant editors earn a $5,216 higher salary than reporters a year.

      A similarity between the two careers of reporters and assistant editors are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "news stories," "twitter," and "instagram. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that reporter responsibilities requires skills like "on-air," "facebook," "photography," and "video packages." But an assistant editor might use skills, such as, "layout," "video footage," "web content," and "production process."

      On average, assistant editors earn a higher salary than reporters. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, assistant editors earn the most pay in the technology industry with an average salary of $68,359. Whereas, reporters have higher paychecks in the media industry where they earn an average of $51,612.

      In general, assistant editors study at similar levels of education than reporters. They're 3.3% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 1.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent in the field in the next 3-5 years?

      Aaron Moore Ph.D.

      Associate Professor of Journalism; Director of Internship Program, Rider University

      Any journalist must be adept and have strong digital editing skills. There are many platforms like Final Cut, for example - the platform doesn't matter - the ability of digital editing is a must. Show more

      What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent in the field in the next 3-5 years?

      Dr. Maria Polski Ph.D.

      Associate Professor, East-West University

      There is no technology more important than the human mind. Ability to think independently, to evaluate, to defer judgment, to investigate the origin of information will be practiced in a variety of technologies. Students and new graduates should be aiming to develop these abilities, regardless of which technology they use! The ability to evaluate the quality of information is, probably, the most important of them all.Show more

      How a Managing Editor Compares

      Managing editors are individuals who coordinate and oversee the editorial activities of a publication. They administer the daily operations or a website or publication, such as generating ideas and planning and editing content. Their responsibilities include the recruitment, promotion, and firing of staff members. They even create and implement deadlines. Great managing editors are those who are updated on the latest trends and make informed decisions. They should also be equipped with skills in management and coaching.

      Let's now take a look at the managing editor profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than reporters with a $40,053 difference per year.

      By looking over several reporters and managing editors resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "news stories," "facebook," and "twitter." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from reporters resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "on-air," "photography," "video packages," and "fill-in." But a managing editor might have skills like "content marketing," "web content," "layout," and "freelance writers."

      Additionally, managing editors earn a higher salary in the media industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $95,811. Additionally, reporters earn an average salary of $51,612 in the media industry.

      Managing editors are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to reporters. Additionally, they're 4.8% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 2.8% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of an Associate Editor

      The primary role of an Associate Editor is to ensure that subordinates submit high-quality content. They review and edit copies, set deadlines, and supervise the production details of magazines, newspapers, books, or websites.

      Now, we'll look at associate editors, who generally average a higher pay when compared to reporters annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $6,983 per year.

      While both reporters and associate editors complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like news stories, twitter, and instagram, the two careers also vary in other skills.

      Each job requires different skills like "on-air," "facebook," "photography," and "video packages," which might show up on a reporter resume. Whereas associate editor might include skills like "web content," "edit copy," "content marketing," and "html."

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The technology industry tends to pay more for associate editors with an average of $75,283. While the highest reporter annual salary comes from the media industry.

      Associate editors reach higher levels of education when compared to reporters. The difference is that they're 8.6% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 4.7% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.