How to Become a News Reporter

News Reporter
News Reporter Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year$63,230
Avg. Pay / hour$30.40
Education1-2 Years
Outlook-12%

News reporters work in the media to deliver news and reports on current events.

News reporters work on a variety of television shows across all kinds of networks.

If you have an interest in journalism, excellent communication skills, and a strong work ethic then you might like to consider a career as a news reporter.

To an outsider’s perspective, working as a news reporter may seem like a glamorous job.

However, to succeed in this business you will need to put in a lot of long hours for little pay in the beginning of your career.

You should also be aware that this is a highly competitive industry where there are far more people wanting to become news reporters than there are jobs available.

That being said, like with any job, if you are prepared to work hard and put in the hours, you will be rewarded with a very satisfying career path.

Education Requirements to Become a News Reporter

If you’re in high school, you can start working to become a news reporter now.

Take classes like English and drama at school.

Getting yourself familiar with being in the spotlight will help you succeed.

If you have a newspaper or magazine at your school, volunteer as a writer or editor.

You may like to inquire about doing some work experience at a local TV station.

You’ll need a four-year bachelor degree to become a news reporter.

Your major should be in communications, broadcast journalism or a similar area.

While at college, you should take the opportunity to work on your school’s newspaper, or any other similar programs, which will allow you to gain experience.

Many employers state that practical experience is the most important part of a reporters education.

For this reason, it’s important to get as much of it as you can.

Internships, school papers, and even online writing experience can all contribute to you landing that all-important first job after college.

Completing internships is essential.

Working as an intern provides real life experience, and may also lead to you gaining a full-time position later on.

Getting your first job as a news reporter may require you to relocate.

As this is a competitive industry, you may need to move around to get jobs and promotions.

News Reporter Job Description

A news reporter puts together reports on current events which become a part of a news program.

They usually research their own leads, or are given briefs to complete.

They will conduct research into a story, interview people, then write up a report which they will deliver on screen.

Here are some of the duties of a news reporter:

  • Finding story leads
  • Reading briefs
  • Researching stories
  • Conducting interviews, on and off air
  • Traveling to locations where events are happening
  • Reporting the news on air
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Communicating with colleagues

To become a news reporter, you’ll need to be able to work under pressure.

You’ll always be working hard to deliver quality work before deadline.

You will often be working weekends and holidays also.

More experienced reporters and anchors will get more of a say in when they have days off.

News Reporter Salary and Career Path

It’s likely that your first job as a reporter will be at a small local station.

Most people start their career this way.

With experience, your skill will be recognized and you will gain a better position at a larger network.

Don’t expect a lot of money for your first job, your salary will likely be around $20,000 a year to begin with.

The median salary is $35,000, which you could expect to earn once you have established yourself within the industry.

The top 10% earn over $77,000.

Many reporters receive good perks as a part of their role.

They may get gifts from advertisers, as well as access to magazines, DVDs, and be invited to industry events.

Many reports move on to become news anchors, and may work for national news networks once they become established.

Some may become journalists, work in other roles within television presenting, others become editors or writers.

While working as a news reporter is no doubt challenging, it can also be very rewarding.

If you are interested in journalism and have your heart set on working on television, then it’s likely this is a good choice of career for you.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$63,230
$29K
$35K
$63K
$77K
$120K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$36,770
Alaska$58,370
Arizona$57,310
Arkansas$41,030
California$60,880
Colorado$67,450
Connecticut$82,080
Delaware$63,200
District of Columbia$111,360
Florida$67,940
Georgia$77,610
Hawaii$69,820
Idaho$40,300
Illinois$49,540
Indiana$52,440
Iowa$41,870
Kansas$48,160
Kentucky$51,460
Louisiana$56,800
Maine$45,020
Maryland$58,890
Massachusetts$51,180
Michigan$42,440
Minnesota$48,270
Mississippi$32,340
Missouri$41,020
Montana$33,460
Nebraska$41,930
Nevada$70,420
New Hampshire$51,280
New Jersey$76,110
New Mexico$52,290
New York$95,510
North Carolina$53,580
North Dakota$47,210
Ohio$52,810
Oklahoma$53,620
Oregon$59,130
Pennsylvania$38,710
Rhode Island$73,460
South Carolina$53,890
South Dakota$38,130
Tennessee$49,390
Texas$57,240
Utah$69,360
Vermont$43,910
Virginia$61,340
Washington$58,400
West Virginia$33,840
Wisconsin$44,290
Wyoming$38,460
Puerto Rico$47,580

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $111,360.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $111,360
New York - $95,510
Connecticut - $82,080
Georgia - $77,610
New Jersey - $76,110
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists, OCC Code 27-3023, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do news reporters do?

News reporters gather information and keep the public informed about the latest news.

They may be employed by newspapers, magazines, televisions or radio stations.

Some reporters are self-employed and take freelance assignments from different news organizations.

News reporters must be able to work under pressure because they are required to be on the scene of a news story as fast as possible in order to gather information.

They may be specialized in a particular field, such as sports, politics or international news.

When working on a story reporters may collaborate with editors, photographers and other journalists.

Most reporters work full time and may work additional hours in order to cover breaking news.

How much does a news reporter make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for reporters and correspondents was $41,260 as of May 2018.

The salaries vary widely, depending on the reporter’s level of experience and their employer.

Those who work for newspapers earn, on average, less than reporters employed by radio and television or other information services.

Some reporters earn less than $25,000 a year while others make more than $100,000.

How much does it cost to become a news reporter?

News reporters usually need a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a related field.

Four-year bachelor’s degree programs cost, on average, around $150,000 but costs vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the school you choose and the program itself.

A journalism program will teach you, among other things, the ethical and technical aspects of researching stories and conducting interviews.

In order to have the best job prospects, you should participate in an internship during college or have some work experience in the field.

Graduate programs in journalism are also available at some schools.

What is the demand for news reporters?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for reporters and correspondents is projected to decline 12 percent from 2018 to 2028.

This is caused, in part, by the decline in advertising revenue in radio, television, and newspapers.

Reporters are expected to face strong competition and new graduates who have gained some experience in the field through an internship or by writing for the school’s newspaper should have better job prospects.

Having some audio or video editing experience may also help you in your career as a news reporter.

How long does it take to become a news reporter?

News reporters usually need a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a related field.

Most undergraduate programs can be completed within four years.

A two-year master’s degree may also help you have better job prospects.

In order to gain work experience in the field, you should complete an internship in college or work for the school’s newspaper or for a local radio station or television.

Jamie Willis