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|Look up reporter in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Reporters gather their information in a variety of ways, including tips, press releases, sources (those with newsworthy information) and witnessing events. They perform research through interviews, public records, and other sources. The information-gathering part of the job is sometimes called "reporting" as distinct from the production part of the job, such as writing articles. Reporters generally split their time between working in a newsroom and going out to witness events or interview people.
Most reporters working for major news media outlets are assigned an area to focus on, called a beat or patch. They are encouraged to cultivate sources to improve their information gathering.
Reporters working for major the Western news media usually have a university or college degree. The degree is sometimes in journalism, but in most countries, that is generally not a requirement. When hiring reporters, editors tend to give much weight to the reporter's previous work (such as newspaper clippings), even when written for a student newspaper or as part of an internship.
Reporters in the UK, Canada and the United States
In the United Kingdom, editors often require that prospective trainee reporters have completed the NCTJ (National College for the Training of Journalists) preliminary exams. After 18 months to two years on the job, trainees will take a second set of exams, known collectively as the NCE. Upon completion of the NCE, the candidate is considered a fully-qualified senior reporter and usually receives a (very) small pay raise. In the United States and Canada, there is no set requirement for a particular degree (and in the United States licensing journalists would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment), although almost all newspapers, wire services, television news, and radio news operations hire only college graduates and expect prior experience in journalism, either at a student publication or through an internship.
Although their work can also often make them into minor celebrities, most reporters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom earn relatively low salaries. It is common for a reporter fresh out of college working at a small newspaper to make $20,000 annually or less. According the 2007 Survey of Journalism/Mass communication the median starting salaries for reporters in 2007 were identical to those in 2006:
- $26,000 for a daily newspaper
- $22,880,for a weekly newspaper
- $23,400 in radio
- $21,840 in broadcast television
- $25,012 in cable television.
Despite many college students' perceptions that newspapers pay the most poorly, both daily and weekly newspapers are paying more than broadcast television, which actually pays the poorest of any mass communication industry or profession (advertising graduates got $26,988 and public relations graduates got $28,964 in 2006).
The median salary for graduates in 2008 is £24,500 in UK.It is common for reporters to start with newspapers in small towns and take steps up the ladder to larger papers, though The New York Times has been known to hire reporters with only a few years' experience, if they have talent and expertise in particular areas. Many reporters also start as summer interns at large papers and then move to reporting jobs at medium sized papers. The same job prospects apply in the television reporting business, with reporters starting in small markets and moving into larger markets and thence to national news programs.
- ^ a b Becker Dr. Lee B. et al (August 25, 2008), 2007 Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication Graduates, Athens, Georgia, US: James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, Grady College of, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Georgia, http://www.grady.uga.edu/coxcenter/activities/activities0708/Stories/AEJMC2008/grdrpt2007mergedcolorv2.pdf