Beat Reporter

Beat reporters are journalists who have been assigned a particular area of interest, such as sports, from which they are expected to generate stories. A beat is considered a certain area or topic. Many beat reporters do not consult just one source, but rather, tap many sources in order to provide the most comprehensive story.

How to Become a Beat Reporter

If you want to become a beat reporter, you’ll most likely need a degree in journalism in order to learn reporting and writing skills. An internship at your local newspaper is a great first step towards landing a career in this field after you’ve earned your degree or while attending classes. The job of a reporter is mainly to write so you’ll need solid writing skills with a real passion for chasing a story. Additional tasks often include the following, according to O*Net OnLine:

  • Report news stories for publication or broadcast, describing the background and details of events.
  • Arrange interviews with people who can provide information about a story.
  • Review copy and correct errors in content, grammar, and punctuation, following prescribed editorial style and formatting guidelines.
  • Review and evaluate notes taken about event aspects in order to isolate pertinent facts and details.
  • Determine a story’s emphasis, length, and format, and organize material accordingly.
  • Research and analyze background information related to stories in order to be able to provide complete and accurate information.
  • Gather information about events through research, interviews, experience, or attendance at political, news, sports, artistic, social, or other functions.
  • Investigate breaking news developments, such as disasters, crimes, or human-interest stories.
  • Research and report on specialized fields such as medicine, science and technology, politics, foreign affairs, sports, arts, consumer affairs, business, religion, crime, or education.
  • Receive assignments or evaluate leads or tips to develop story ideas.
  • Job Outlook and Salary Data for Beat Reporters

    According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of reporters in correspondents was $45,120 in May 2012. Keep in mind however, that salaries vary depending on where you live and who you work for. The job outlook for reporters and correspondents is expected to moderately decline, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. But with a degree from an accredited college or university, you’ll be in a better position to find the job you want. And it’s important to gain as much experience as possible in order to stay ahead of the competition. Apply for internships or part-time employment with a newspaper or an online news site to hone your writing and reporting skills.

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