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Career Handbook - News Analysts, Reporters, and Correspondents Introduction
News Analysts, Reporters, and Correspondents

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Key Points of Interest:
  • Most employers prefer experienced individuals with a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communications.
  • Competition will be keen for jobs at large metropolitan and national newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines; most entry-level openings arise at small broadcast stations and publications.
  • Jobs often involve irregular hours, night and weekend work, and pressure to meet deadlines.

News analysts, reporters, and correspondents play a key role in our society. They gather information, prepare stories, and make broadcasts that inform us about local, State, national, and international events; present points of view on current issues; and report on the actions of public officials, corporate executives, special-interest groups, and others who exercise power.

News analysts examine, interpret, and broadcast news received from various sources. They also are called newscasters or news anchors. News anchors present news stories and introduce videotaped news or live transmissions from on-the-scene reporters. Some newscasters at large stations and networks specialize in a particular type of news, such as sports or weather. Weathercasters, also called weather reporters, report current and forecasted weather conditions. They gather information from national satellite weather services, wire services, and local and regional weather bureaus. Some weathercasters are trained meteorologists and can develop their own weather forecasts. (See the statement on atmospheric scientists elsewhere in the Handbook.) Sportscasters select, write, and deliver sports news. This may include interviews with sports personalities and coverage of games and other sporting events.

In covering a story, reporters investigate leads and news tips, look at documents, observe events at the scene, and interview people. Reporters take notes and also may take photographs or shoot videos. At their office, they organize the material, determine the focus or emphasis, write their stories, and edit accompanying video material. Many reporters enter information or write stories on laptop computers, and electronically submit the material to their offices from remote locations. In some cases, newswriters write a story from information collected and submitted by reporters. Radio and television reporters often compose stories and report "live" from the scene. At times, they later tape an introduction to or commentary on their story in the studio. Some journalists also interpret the news or offer opinions to readers, viewers, or listeners. In this role, they are called commentators or columnists.

General assignment reporters write about newsworthy occurrences, such as an accident, a political rally, the visit of a celebrity, or a company going out of business, as assigned. Large newspapers and radio and television stationsassign reporters to gather news about specific topics or "beats," such as crime or education. Some reporters specialize in fields such as health, politics, foreign affairs, sports, theater, consumer affairs, social events, science, business, or religion. Investigative reporters cover stories that may take many days or weeks of information gathering. Some publications use teams of reporters instead of assigning specific beats, allowing reporters to cover a greater variety of stories. News teams may include reporters, editors, graphic artists, and photographers, working together to complete a story.

News correspondents report on news occurring in the large U.S. and foreign cities where they are stationed. Reporters on small publications cover all aspects of the news. They take photographs, write headlines, lay out pages, edit wire service stories, and write editorials. Some also solicit advertisements, sell subscriptions, and perform general office work.

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Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition