What Does a News Reporter Do? (With Examples and Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A news reporter keeps the public informed about current affairs by investigating important stories. The skills necessary in this role mean that your long-term earning potential is quite high, though it's important to attain relevant qualifications and practical experience before starting. To decide whether a career in journalism is right for you, it's important that you understand the position and what your duties might be.

In this article, we answer the question, "What does a news reporter do?" and provide important career information, including the relevant experience and qualifications you may need to become one and the salaries you could earn in different news reporting roles.

What does a news reporter do?

As a news reporter, you're responsible for investigating a story before presenting your findings to the public. You might focus on local or international events. You can also specialise in a particular subject area, such as politics, business or sports. It's also important that you verify any information received before publishing, to ensure that your report presents an accurate image of the event in question.

Furthermore, supporting evidence for a news report can be gathered from various sources, including interviews with experts, official press releases and anonymous insiders. You might wish to build a network of trusted contacts within organisations of interest, such as government or business. You can use these sources to obtain fresh and reliable information about stories as they develop, keeping the public informed throughout.

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Where do news reporters work?

As a news reporter, you might work for either a written publication or a television channel. For the former, you can produce investigative reports or opinion pieces reflective of the subjects you're an expert in. You might produce new articles on a daily or weekly basis, depending on how frequently the publication is published. Conversely, as a news reporter for a television channel, your work might be more outward-facing, broadcasting news bulletins in real-time. In this role, you offer viewers a more direct insight into current events, whether reporting from a studio or in the field.

Whoever your employer is, it's important that you can handle working in a flexible and high-pressure environment. Online, stories can emerge quickly and at any time. You might work long hours on an irregular schedule, depending on when your expertise is in demand.

News reporter qualifications

Before becoming a full-time news reporter, you might wish to acquire qualifications and work experience relevant to your industry. By doing so, you can start building up a professional reputation as a capable and disciplined individual, which might create opportunities for future career progression. Consider accruing the following qualifications and work experience:

Bachelor's degree

It's important that you earn a bachelor's degree before becoming a news reporter, preferably in a related field, such as journalism, media studies or English language. Many employers consider an undergraduate education a bare minimum if you wish to secure such a high-skilled and well-paid position. If you've already earned a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, you might wish to convert your specialism to journalism by studying for a relevant postgraduate qualification.

A degree might also offer opportunities to specialise in a preferred field of journalism. During your studies, you can choose from various optional modules covering different aspects of journalistic practice, such as media law, communication skills and war reporting. This considered, several Hong Kong-based universities offer bachelor's degree programmes in journalism. For example, the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong offers a four-year undergraduate course in Journalism and Communication. Here, you can train in business journalism, while also learning about the theories and principles behind good reporting practice.

Vocational certifications

Compared to a broad-based degree programme, vocational certifications often have a more specific subject focus. You might enrol in a reporting-related course to build up a specific skill set, such as news anchoring or knowledge of a niche subject area. By earning a vocational certification, you can prove to employers that you're suitably qualified to perform more intellectually demanding roles. Over time, your professional profile as a capable news reporter might lead to career progression and a higher income.

The Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education offers various certifications that are well-suited to a career as a news reporter. For example, by enrolling in the Advanced Diploma in Communication and Culture course, you can acquire more specialised knowledge in how changes in media technologies have influenced cultural identity in modern Asia. Alternatively, you might wish to take part in the Becoming a Professional Anchorperson vocational workshop. Here you can learn the basics of anchoring a TV news programme, including interview skills, writing press releases and working with a wider production team.

Professional internship

Professional internships offer a lucrative opportunity to build a career as a news reporter. Under the guidance of an experienced mentor, you can learn how to investigate and publish stories under strict time pressures. Alternatively, you might wish to serve an internship within an organisation of interest, such as government or a business. For example, as a trainee political reporter, you can accrue valuable insight into the functions of government by interning for a politician or civil servant. You might also establish a network of insider contacts to help you break reliable and interesting stories in the future.

Wherever you wish to intern, it's important to remember that the application process for an internship can be extremely competitive. You can try to stand out against other candidates by acquiring the academic and vocational certifications mentioned above.

Related: What Is an Internship and How To Get One Successfully

Salary expectations

The average salary for a news reporter is $16,178 per month. It's important to note that this figure is not a limit on your long-term earning potential as a news reporter. Rather, as you progress your career, the skills and qualifications you can accrue might offer opportunities for promotion and a higher income.

Furthermore, the above figure concerns news reporting as an entire industry. Depending on your specialism and employer, your salary could vary significantly.

What types of news reporters are there?

The potential salary that you might earn as a news reporter can vary significantly, depending on your specific duties and responsibilities. Here are four different careers you could pursue as a news reporter, with relevant salary information:

Journalist

As a journalist, you produce a written report about a story assigned to you by your editor. To ensure that your report comprehensively analyses the issue in question, you gather evidence from a range of sources, including press releases, interviews with experts and fact-checkers. Furthermore, it's important that you can produce work within a short timeframe and according to the editorial standards expected by your employer.

The average salary for a journalist is $13,268 per month. This figure is below the average for news reporters in general, due to the entry-level nature of the position.

News editor

A news editor is the most senior employee in the news department of a written publication. You oversee the work of junior reporters, assigning stories according to both their importance and a colleague's expertise. Furthermore, you allocate the space given to different reports, with stories you deem most worthy of public attention being prioritised.

The average salary for a news editor is $20,000 per month. This salary acts as compensation for the depth of skills and experience necessary to thrive in this role.

Related: What Does an Editor Do? (Plus How to Successfully Become One)

Content writer

A content writer is a reporter who possesses more experience and niche subject knowledge than an entry-level journalist. Therefore, you might have greater freedom than junior reporters to write about stories that interest you. Furthermore, this independence means that you can choose to work as either an employee or in a freelance capacity. Either way, it's important to negotiate projects and rates with editors before starting an investigation. If you can focus on one task at a time, you might be more productive and increase your income as a result.

If employed full time by a publication or television channel, the average salary for a content writer is $23,045 per month. Alternatively, as a freelance writer, you can set your own hourly rates, depending on your skills and the demand for your services. In this scenario, your monthly income is dependent on how much work you can complete.

Related: What Is Freelancing?

News producer

As a news producer, you're responsible for every aspect of the news broadcasting process. Firstly, you can contact insider sources to identify possible stories, before assigning these stories to reporters based on their experience and expertise. Once research has been finalised, it's your responsibility to compile it together as a single coherent newscast, such as by writing a news anchors script and coordinating live broadcasts.

The average salary for a news producer is $30,048 per month, almost double the average figure for news reporters altogether.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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