What Are the Different Types of Reporters?

Reporters work in different areas and mediums; however, many professional reporters are journalists trained in fact-finding, writing and researching. If you have a flair for getting the facts right and working under pressure, you might consider a job as a reporter. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Jobs in Reporting

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reporters and correspondents held more than 57,000 jobs in 2012. However, the BLS predicts that jobs in the field will decrease by 13% between 2012-2022, mainly due to decreased newspaper and magazine readership. However, there are many other types of mediums where reporters can find work, ranging from TV to radio to the Web. In each of these jobs, reporters gather facts, conduct interviews and write stories. Some reporters cover a wide array of topics while others stick to one subject. As a reporter, you'll be able to direct your career toward the kind of reporting you'd like to do.

Different Types of Reporters

Assignment Reporters

Assignment reporters, sometimes called general assignment reporters, cover the notable incidents in their news coverage areas. Working as an assignment reporter means writing stories about community news events, such as car accidents or celebrity visits, as they are assigned to you by an editor.

Beat Reporters

A beat reporter specializes in one area of interest, from shopping to the environment to education. Sometimes called reporter specialists, these reporters keep up-to-date so they can find stories and inform the public of new developments.

Columnists

While assignment and beat reports must tell the facts as they are, columnists get to insert their opinions. They may specialize in a particular field in order to make their opinions well-formed.

Sports and Weather Reporters

Most media outlets have specialists in the sports and the weather. Many of these reporters are highly trained, such as weather reporters who have degrees in meteorology or sports reporters who have played or studied sports at the college or professional level.

Reporters in Different Types of Media

Media is changing due to the influence of technology, but the media forms still use basic journalistic technique. Each kind of reporter can be found in the different media types.

Print

Reporters in print media work for traditional outlets, such as newspapers and magazines, or increasingly common Internet publications. If you work in this medium, you'll use the traditional journalistic methods of completing research, interviewing experts on a topic, then developing a piece for publication, but Internet outlets might demand knowledge of video or photography principles too.

Television and Radio

You may wish to work in television or radio in order to be the face or voice of the news; however, reporters in broadcast media must still do the work of composing stories, often under a deadline. Once you have learned the basics of journalism, then you can begin to learn skills that are particular to the broadcast medium, such as reading from a teleprompter.

Education Requirements for Journalists

Because there are several types of reporters, each career will follow its own educational path. It's not unusual, however, for reporters to have formal education. In order to become a journalist, you might consider entering an undergraduate program with a major in journalism, mass communications, broadcasting, political science or English. Experience is also important. You might try to find a position with the newspaper, radio or television station run by the school you choose.

While you can become a reporter after earning a bachelor's degree, if you wish to become a specialist reporter or hold a position in a national market you might consider earning a graduate degree. According to the BLS, job competition is not uncommon in larger markets. The BLS also notes that education can help further job prospects and expand the number of reporting jobs you are qualified to do.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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