Spotlights

Similar Titles

Journalist, Correspondent, Anchor

Job Description

Reporters collect and analyze facts about newsworthy events by interview, investigation, or observation. They reports and write stories for a newspaper, news magazine, radio, or television outlets.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Diverse in what you get to see/learn and whom you meet. 
  • Experience things people can only dream of.  
  • No 2 days of work are exactly the same.
  • You’re not sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer all day.
  • Have a certain liberty to map out how you want your work to be perceived. 
  • Opportunity to help people: Media can do a lot of things to inform the public of injustice. You have the power to influence and impact. 

“The benefits come in learning a different story each day, having the opportunity to inform the public, get the opportunity to entertain or educate the masses, being the first to discover or uncover a major story. It's a fantastic rush and when you hear from a complete stranger how a story you did made a difference in their life - there's hardly a better feeling in the world! It's also sweet when random people come up to you on the street and thank you for doing a good job.” – Cary Chow, ESPN

The Inside Scoop
Day in the Life

Daily Feature News

  • Check the local wire service agenda (on the CNS wire, it's called the "Budget" and on the AP wire, the "Daybook") for any prearranged press conferences, protests…etc.
  • Consult with the editor/producer to decide which stories to cover.
  • Attend 3-4 different press conferences a day: ask questions, follow up one on one interviews and record sound bites.
  • Write and record story and send to station, usually a fast turnaround time to be aired that day, even that hour.

Breaking News

  • Includes shooting, earthquake, fire, prominent figure arrested…etc
  • Track down people to interview who are related to the incident.
  • Go live with news anchor or host of the show to talk about what’s happening and answer any questions.

Enterprise/Investigative Stories

  • Find topic and find people willing to talk to you about the topic.
  • Longer in length
  • Usually takes multiple days 
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Communication: writing, speaking
  • Reading comprehension
  • Being able to summarize and digest things in a clear, succinct, interesting and provocative way.
  • World awareness
  • Voice, diction: "practice makes perfect"
  • Ability to work under pressure and within time constraints.
  • Ability to do many tasks and be flexible.
  • Ability to interact with all different walks of life.
  • Empathy
  • Ability to get people to trust and open up to you.
  • Resourcefulness
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Little pay at the beginning so need to be willing to supplement your job with another flexible job.
  • Willingness to live in whatever city to start and move around a lot.
    • For instance, you will probably not be able to control in which city you begin your career. It is rare to start and end your career in the same city.
  • Cutthroat: People are extremely competitive.
  • Willingness to do menial tasks at the beginning of your career.
  • Most likely you won’t have holidays off in the beginning of your career.
  • Willingness to be on-call.
Current Industry Trends
  • Getting more consolidated, companies are buying other companies.
  • Less high-paying anchor jobs.
  • Less traditional media jobs; however, growth on the internet makes way for journalist/bloggers and many one-man operations.
What kind of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger…
  • Pretended they were a reporter in front of their mirror.
  • Being inquisitive: Asked lots of questions to people they meet.
  • Cared about what’s going on around them (locally, internationally).
  • Wanted to share what they find out to other people (via conversations, on their Twitter feed, Facebook timeline).
  • Read blogs, online magazines, newspaper.
2016 Employment
50,400
2026 Projected Employment
45,900
Education Needed
  • A 4 year college degree is not mandatory but highly recommended.
  • Types of Degree: Broadcast Journalism, Communications, Political Science, or Economics.
Things to look for in an University
  • Active journalism program where you can learn with hands-on experience.
  • Has a school news station or a close connection/interaction to the city’s local news station.
  • Active alumni who will be willing to mentor you and potentially get you your first internship or job.
  • Professors who have professional journalism experience.
  • Good academic program.
  • Some journalists major in Political Science, Government, Economics, Business and minor in journalism so that they can learn about how business and politics function which will help them become a better journalist and potentially specialize in the future (i.e. Political correspondent on CNN or Financial correspondent on MSNBC).
Things to do in High School and College
  • Classes: drama, public speaking, debate, news editing, radio/TV writing, journalism
  • Watch and follow the news: Notice what stories you like, which ones grab your attention.
  • Do it!: Start your own YouTube channel of you interviewing people and producing full length features of stories that interest you.
  • Keep a journal of everything you have learned and experienced.
  • Debate: As a reporter, you have to be unbiased. Practice gathering evidence and facts from both sides so you can report without being biased.  
  • Work on your voice by listening to the best reporters on TV: Concentrate on projection, inflection and enunciation.
  • Practice being detail-oriented.
  • Figure out which medium you like the best: writing, speaking (are you okay in front of the camera?)
  • Start a blog.
  • Work for your school newspaper or intern at your local paper or news station.
  • Ask other reporters in your city for an informational interview and ask to shadow them for a day.
  • Pay attention to grammar and spelling when you write anything.
  • Learn how to write for TV and radio.
  • Create a resume reel.
  • Feedback: Always ask for feedback on your voice and material.
Education Stats
  • 3% with HS Diploma
  • 3.9% with Associate’s
  • 61.1% with Bachelor's
  • 18.3% with Master's
  • 2.8% with Doctoral

*% of employees aged 25 to 44 in the occupation whose highest level of educational attainment is

Typical Roadmap
Reporter roadmap jpg
How to Land your 1st job
  • In college, work at your college station or intern at a local news station. With the reel of your internship work, start applying to jobs at news stations. Ask your professors for recommendations for entry-level jobs.     
  • Your first job is not necessarily going to be on the air. Many start off as an intern or assistant doing various roles (transcribing, translating, producing…etc).
  • At your first job, ask producers to take a look at your reel. Ask them for notes on your voice, content, and writing.
  • Join the communications/news club on campus.
  • Be proactive.
  • Be bold.
  • Network!

The majority of people climb the market chain. There are 210 total TV markets in the country - #1 (largest) - NYC, #2 - LA. The smallest is somewhere in Montana. It doesn't really matter where you start - if your work is good, you can succeed. Click here for the list of markets. 

How to stay competitive and stay in the game
  • Endurance, flexibility, willing to put up with "not-so-great" assignments and giving 100% to each story.
  • Detail-oriented: don’t miss things when you are sent to cover, do your homework!
  • Ethics: don’t steal/use other people’s ideas.
  • Curiosity: always open to learning new things, stay up  to date with technology.
  • Television: looks (stay in shape)
  • Develop a competitive advantage “feature”: multi-lingual (Spanish, Chinese..etc), diversify your skill set (internet, entertainment…etc.), build your brand (i.e. the sustainability reporter).
Qualities of those who make it
  • Persistence
  • Perseverance
  • Pro-activeness
  • Slight ego

“In the first markets, you have to try to make yourself better -- that means taking more risks and failing more often. But the key to success is repetition. In WY, I was hired as weekend anchor, weekday reporter. Most of that reporting entailed shooting and editing my own video. Within the first year, I would end up producing, becoming their main anchor, doing sports, training for weather, and running my own franchise piece.” – Cary Chow, ESPN

Recommended Tools/Resources

Trade Sites and Associations

Books

  • Writing News: “Writing Broadcast News: Shorter Sharper Stronger.” By Mervin Block
  • Networking Skills: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “Never Eat Alone” by Tahl Raz
Plan B

Key transferable skills: writing for press, public speaking, interviewing skills, sound editing
Alternate Careers: Public relations manager, Corporate communications manager, Various jobs in factual entertainment, publicist.

Words of Advice
  • Intern or join one or more of the associations for networking and mentorship.
  • Get another degree for backup or to help supplement your income. (i.e. double major)
  • It’s a marathon. Nothing comes overnight.
  • Be willing to risks: Might have to leave a steady salary for a riskier job that is more challenging.
  • Be willing to take advice and criticism.
  • Be patient.
  • Be confident.
Infographic

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Reporter Gladeographix

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Source: Interviews, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Courses and Tools