The image of an intrepid truth-seeking reporter and journalist has always struck a chord in our collective consciousness. It’s a profession that pervades even our pop-cultural mythologies as the chosen alter ego occupation for superheroes such as Superman and Spider Man. Even today’s reporters of local and national publications enjoy an element of celebrity.
It’s no wonder many people want to become a journalist; journalism is a career that can promise a lifetime of excitement, travel, knowledge and perhaps even fame. But despite its glamorous draw, becoming a journalist requires a lot of hard work that extends beyond the 9-5 work week.
Aspiring journalists are encouraged to get a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism or English. Some employers will accept candidates with other majors, but they will look for experience at newspapers, broadcasting stations or other news organizations. Internships and freelancing jobs are great ways to gain experience while still in school.
Another widely accepted and convenient way to earn a degree in journalism is to take courses online. There are many different types of online journalism courses available, but the best way to ensure credibility is to choose a program that is affiliated with an accredited university.
News reporters work as a part of team including analysts, correspondents, and researchers to share the news with television news and radio listeners. Reporters investigate relevant story leads, examine relevant documents and data, monitor events and conduct interviews. Some reporters write their own material while others have assistance from researchers, writers and editors.
Cover fast-breaking stories for community, national or metropolitan publications. Deadlines tend to be tight and a great deal of flexibility is needed, as well as an ability to write quickly and accurately.
Radio reporters gather and share news stories with listeners, often through live broadcasts. Unlike their colleagues in television, radio reporters have to rely on what is heard rather than what is seen. What a radio reporter says and how it is said often determines the value of the news report. Radio reporting also offers immediate, on-the-spot opportunities requiring professionals who can react immediately.
Is someone with a passion for discovering truth and revealing any inconsistencies with it. Investigative journalists sometimes spend weeks, months or even years researching a story, which can involve surveillance, going undercover and documenting analysis.
Foreign correspondents report from remote locations. While other journalists report the facts of a story, correspondents often provide their own opinions or insight.
Broadcast journalists publish news by electrical means such as radio, television or Internet. They often use video clips, pictures and sounds in their presentation of a story.
A photojournalist uses still images or video clips to narrate a news story. Many photojournalists have produced iconic images that convey a wide range of emotions and bring more personal perspectives to traditional news stories.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job outlook for journalists is expected to increase by about two percent from now to the year 2016 due to the consolidation of publishing and broadcasting industries. Although still a competitive field, the best opportunities are expected to be in online media.
According to the BLS, a journalist’s salary ranges from $19,180 to more than $145,600. The median salary is about $33,470.