Career Choice: Reporters and Correspondents

Career Choice: Reporters and Correspondents
  • Opening Intro -

    Newspapers have been slammed by the Internet, a disruptive force that has set the reporting industry on its head.

    Out of any change or conflict can come opportunity, thus there are new ways to report and disseminate the news by enterprising people.

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Reporters and correspondents continue to bring to us the news with that information appearing in broadcast, print and online media, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, websites and social media, including via Twitter.

Duties

Breaking and ongoing news stories need to be reported, information that is oftentimes broadcast without vetting first. While the Internet has made it possible to share news as it happens, back stories and related information is typically absent. That is where reporters and correspondents come in, individuals that take the time to go on scene, interview sources, look for those pertinent facts and details that others might skip and investigate.

These professionals arrange interviews, review copy, correct mistakes, review and evaluate notes, provide research and analysis, and gather information. Reporters receive assignments and will evaluate leads or tips for story idea development. These individuals are inquisitive, communicative, technically savvy and people oriented.

Education

While college education is not required for some online outlets, traditional and established news outlets prefer candidates that have at least a bachelor’s degree. Indeed, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two-thirds of reporters and correspondents have a bachelor’s degree with nearly one-quarter possessing a master’s degree.

Reporting professionals typically have a degree in journalism or communications. Some may have a minor or a concentration in a particular subject, such as political science, English, business or engineering, with all candidates completing classes in ethics, history and liberal arts. Candidates usually gain experience by working for the college newspaper, through internships at media companies and with news organizations.

Salaries

The median annual salary for reporters and correspondents was $35,870 as of 2012 according to the BLS. Salaries for those in the 10th percentile came in at $20,800 in 2012, while those in the 25th percentile earned $26,500 per year on average. Those in the 50th percentile earned $35,900 per year. Salaries for reporters and correspondents in the 75th percentile were $53,300 per year, while those in the 90th percentile earned $78,500 per year on average.

Salaries for reporters and correspondents comes in far higher in the northeast. The highest wages were in Rhode Island, where these professionals earned $64,000 per year on average reports the BLS. Massachusetts and New York came in a distant second and third respectively, averaging $48,400 in Mass. and $48,200 in NY. On the other end of the spectrum, states where salaries were well below the national average included Nebraska at $23,300 per year, followed by South Dakota at $25,400 and Wyoming at $25,600 per year on average.

Job Outlook

Newspapers continue to recede and the job outlook with major print organizations seems to be bleak. Indeed, the BLS supports that outlook, forecasting a 6 percent drop in jobs through 2020.

There are a few bright spots for reporters and correspondents. Local newspapers, particularly community news providers, continue to function and provide a way to get news stories out that others might ignore. Online publications are also important with some sites receiving high traffic. Advertising and other forms of monetization can be a challenge, something that media companies still must work on resolving. Professionals may find that working freelance provides the opportunities they want, provided that the renumeration covers the cost of researching, interviewing and traveling that comes with this position.

References

Summary Report for: 27-3022.00 – Reporters and Correspondents

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts


See AlsoCareer Choice: Editors

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