May 7, 2010
Average Salary: $34,850
Top Salary: $77,480
Entry Level Salary: $12
Average Hours: Varies
Strong Markets: Metropolitan areas
Job Growth Forecast: 8%
Reporters, or journalists, investigate leads and news tips to write stories for publication or broadcast. They look at documents, observe events at the scene, and interview people. They take careful notes and may sometimes take photographs or shoot videos. They organize the material, decide which aspects of the story to emphasize, write their stories, and edit accompanying video material. Usually, reporters enter information or write stories on laptop computers and electronically submit the material to their offices from remote locations. Increasingly, reporters are asked to maintain and produce material for a newspaper’s website. Radio and television reporters often compose stories and report live from the scene. At times, they later tape an introduction to, or commentary on, their stories in the studio. Some journalists also interpret the news or offer opinions to readers, viewers, or listeners. In this role, they are called commentators or columnists.
Average Hours (per week):
The work environment is tremendously hectic. There is great pressure to meet deadlines. Broadcast reporters/correspondents have very little time prior to airing for preparation of their stories. Work hours vary. Print reporters working for morning papers often work from late afternoon until midnight. Radio and television reporters are typically assigned to day or evening shifts. Hours change frequently to meet deadlines or follow late-breaking developments. Work may require long hours, irregular schedules, and some travel.
Many of these positions require union membership.
No certification or licensing is required.
Most employers prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree in journalism or mass communications, but some hire graduates with other majors. They look for experience at school newspapers or broadcasting stations, and internships with news organizations. Large-city newspapers and stations also may prefer candidates with a degree in a subject-matter specialty such as economics, political science, or business. Some large newspapers and broadcasters may hire only experienced reporters.
The largest market for reporters and correspondents is Washington D.C. and other metropolitan areas.
Entry Level Salary:
Starting salaries range from $9.70 to $12.38 per hour.
Job Growth Forecast:
Due to industry consolidation this category is expected to decline by 8 percent over the next decade.