Newspaper reporters develop story leads, follow up by gathering appropriate information, conduct interviews and write articles for print. They move quickly to report on current breaking news and spend weeks or even months deeply investigating a news story.
Some news reporters specialize in certain subject areas such as local news, religion, business, national news or foreign affairs. General assignment reporters could cover any current topic.
Newspaper reporters typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a related area, and some reporters earn minors or multiple degrees in their area of specialty such as business or political science.
The newspaper industry is more competitive in metropolitan areas or with larger news organizations, so an advanced degree would provide greater opportunities within these companies.
Newspaper reporters begin with an idea and follow it through until publication. They examine documents, research records, conduct interviews, investigate issues and then write their report. Some newspaper reporters network with law enforcement and other professionals to locate breaking news leads and to acquire the most accurate information.
A newspaper reporter’s duties usually include the following:
Multi-tasking and effective communication skills, along with a strong emphasis on writing well, combine to make a successful newspaper reporter.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a small decline, about 6%, in job opportunities for this field through 2018. Jobs are expected to more readily available in smaller or local newspapers and online media. The Department of Labor notes the average salary for a newspaper reporter is around $33,000 annually. Salaries range from around $20,000 to over $53,000 per year.