How to Become a Reporter

If you enjoy writing about news topics and current topics, you might be interested in learning how to become a reporter. There are many different types of journalism careers. As a reporter you will be able to travel, have a flexible schedule and work independently.

Education and Training

You should get as much education and training and you can. If you know you want to pursue this career path while you are still in high school, take any Journalism classes that are offered. Also make sure to work for the school newspaper and on the yearbook as well. After graduating from high school, you will want to obtain a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree in either journalism or communications from an accredited college or university. 

If at all possible, try to get a journalism internship working at a local newspaper, magazine, radio or television station. You also may want to consider taking computer classes since Internet reporting is becoming more and more popular.

Newspaper and Magazine Reporters

If you want to write stories for newspapers and magazines, you have certain guidelines you must follow. First, and foremost, your stories must be factual, answering the traditional reporter questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how in order to flesh out the piece. Reporters are not creative writers; instead, you need to write about the facts and refrain from imposing your views about the story. Good reporting is objective and lets the readers interpret the story themselves.

Radio and Television Reporters

Although radio and television reporters also cover news stories, you have to make sure your pieces are written in such a way so that they can be easily understood with the spoken word. Radio reporters have to be descriptive and sometimes repeat the main point since your radio listening audience has many potential distractions. As a result, radio reporting has to get to the point quickly and try to hold its listeners' attention. Since radio is all about sound, you can vary your reports by using recorded interviews, sound effects, and audio feeds to add interest to the stories.

Television is a more visual medium, so TV reporters often try to use pictures to enhance their stories. These pictures can take the form of still shots that appear as you are discussing the details of the story, or the shots could actually be live footage of the event. Either way, television reporters have the advantage of being able to go into more detail and hold the viewer’s attention longer than a radio broadcaster. However, along with having a good voice like radio reporters need, TV reporters also need to have an attractive, professional appearance in order to compete in the market.

You also need to take as many courses as you can related to television production and do internships at as many broadcast stations as you can. To start, you need to be willing to work in the smaller markets and then work your way up to more prestigious cities.

Tips and Advice

You will be coming up with story ideas, doing research, interviewing people and writing. To be a reporter, you’ll have to get really good at compiling facts, prioritizing information and creating compelling stories that interesting to the masses.

You will also need to have excellent interviewing skills. You should also be aware that reporters work irregular hours, including nights and weekends as well as many holidays. It is common for beginning reporters to earn as little as $15,000 per year, so make sure you are entering the field of reporting because you love the work and not because you need the money.