Through radio, television, online news sites, and printed newspapers and magazines, reporters and correspondents deliver updates and analysis that allow the public to witness and understand history in the making.
Also known as journalists, these professionals keep the public informed by reporting on events, conducting interviews with key people, investigating leads, gathering facts and telling stories. Reporters and correspondents cover local, regional, national and international events of interest to their organization’s audience.
Daily job duties may include researching possible story topics and interviewing people to gather related information and analysis. Once they have the necessary information, reporters and correspondents write news stories for print or online publication, or scripts for radio and television. Stories may be breaking news or in-depth articles.
Other duties of journalists include:
- Analyzing and interpreting information to improve the audience’s understanding
- Editing articles and scripts for proper grammar and style
- Arranging on-air interviews for television and radio
- Contributing to news or opinion blogs
- Offering opinions in the form of columns or editorials
Particularly in major media markets, reporters and correspondents may specialize in certain areas of interest, such as the military, politics, sports, health or international news as a foreign correspondent. Typically, reporters for smaller media outlets cover a broad range of topics.
Job Outlook and Salary Range for Reporters and Correspondents
The emerging popularity of the internet has helped drive down readership and viewership for traditional media organizations. That has led to workforce reductions: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that employment of reporters and correspondents will fall by 10% from 2016 to 2026, while broadcast news analyst jobs are expected to remain the same during the same period.
Job prospects should be better in small markets, such as with local newspapers. Additionally, the growth of online news and social media should provide employment opportunities.
In May 2016, reporters and correspondents earned an average annual wage of $49,770, the BLS reported. The top 10% earned more than $86,610. Salaries are typically higher for broadcast news analysts – the median annual wage was more than $56,680 in 2016.
Salaries and employment opportunities differ based on local market conditions, and an applicant’s education and experience.
Education and Training for Reporters and Correspondents
Although it’s common for reporters and correspondents to have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communication, a variety of liberal arts degrees can provide a strong foundation for a media career. Classes in English, political science, economics and other subjects can be coupled with writing for a college or local newspaper, or completing an internship with a TV or radio station.
For print and online publications, typical entry-level positions include staff writer and copy editor.
Military Occupational Specializations
Numerous military roles can provide the skills and experience necessary for servicemembers who are considering a transition to civilian life and a possible career as a reporter or correspondent. Among them:
- Navy: News media and communications positions include interviewing, writing and proofreading; designing print and online news layouts; serving as staff photographer; and maintaining still and video equipment.
- Air Force: Broadcast journalist career specializations include opportunities to conduct interviews, write scripts, and produce radio and television programs using state-of-the-art editing software.
- Coast Guard: Public affairs specialists perform duties such as writing news releases, articles and other related items; recording events with video and photography; and serving as a spokesperson.
- Army: Public affairs specialists provide information through articles, news releases, photographs and videos.
- Marine Corps: Roles include combat correspondent and public affairs officer.