On the Job
News reporters write and report news stories for newspaper, radio, or television.
When you hear the name "Walter Cronkite," you probably think reporter. In fact, in the Netherlands, TV anchors are sometimes called "Cronkiters." Mr. Cronkite worked as a TV news anchor for nearly twenty years, retiring in the early 1980s. Before his television career, he worked in radio and for newspapers. Cronkite reported on such major events as D-Day, Watergate, and the Vietnam War. He was so well-regarded that it was said that he could - and did - influence foreign policy and the outcomes of wars.News reporters gather information, write stories, and make broadcasts. They inform the public about current events and decisions made by public officials. Reporters often work for newspapers or news magazines. They receive assignments from editors or investigate leads or tips to get story ideas. Reporters read documents, observe events, and interview people. They take notes, tape interviews, and verify information as they work. Many reporters have photographers or camera operators take photos or videos to illustrate a story. Some reporters take their own photos or video.
At their office, reporters organize their notes and decide on a focus for their story. Then they write stories for publication or broadcast. They consider the editorial style of the paper or magazine they write for. If they work for a radio or TV station, they consider the format of the radio or TV news show. Reporters may also edit videos for broadcast. Some news writers prepare stories from information provided by other reporters.
Reporters usually work on a computer. If they do their writing away from the office, they can transmit their notes or story by computer. News correspondents who are stationed in other countries or distant cities submit their written articles or notes by computer.
News analysts broadcast news for radio or television stations. They often research and write their own stories. They look at news service items about local, national, and world events. They also get information or stories from reporters or news teams. News analysts may edit stories so that they fit into the available airtime. They may also make decisions about what items to include in the broadcast. Sometimes news analysts cover stories on the scene. They go out and observe events or interview people. Sometimes they report stories "live" from the scene.
Some newscasters at large stations or networks specialize in one type of news. For example, commentators interpret the news and offer their own opinions or comments. Sportscasters write and deliver sports news. They may cover games and interview players. Weathercasters report on current weather conditions. They also make forecasts about future weather patterns.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Gather information and investigate leads. Read documents, observe events, and interview people.
- Tell photographer or camera operator what scenes they need to illustrate stories. May take own photos or video.
- Take notes and verify information.
- Organize notes and decide focus of story.
- Write news stories for publication or broadcast.
- Transmit story to editor or information to writing staff.
- Edit or assist in editing videos for broadcast.
- Broadcast news stories on radio or television.
- Edit articles for available time and space. May decide which news items to include in broadcast.
- Sometimes write stories and report "live" from the scene.
- Sometimes interpret news items or offer opinions or comments.
- Use computers to write and transmit news articles.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Think creatively.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Use computers.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Perform for the public.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Process information.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Document and record information.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Analyze data or information.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Evaluate information against standards.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Frequently speak in front of large groups or in front of a camera.
- Have a high level of social contact. They work closely with coworkers and the public.
- Communicate daily by telephone, e-mail, and in person. They also write letters and memos, but much less frequently.
- May on rare occasions deal with conflict situations where people might be rude or upset.
- Are responsible for the work done by assistants.
- Almost always work as part of a team of producers, assistants, editors, and camera operators.
- Work both indoors and outdoors. Reporters are most likely to work outdoors while gathering information for news stories.
- May on occasion be exposed to sounds and noise levels that are loud or distracting.
- Travel to and from locations in a car, truck, or van.
- Work near others, such as when interviewing someone or sharing the same work space.
- Work in a competitive atmosphere with very strict daily deadlines.
- Make decisions that impact their employer's reputation on a daily basis. They make most, but not all, decisions without consulting a supervisor.
- Must be very exact in their work so that information is accurate and sources can be identified. Incorrect statements can cause serious problems, such as lawsuits.
- Must be sure that all details are done so stories are ready by deadlines.
- Set some of their daily tasks and goals independently. They usually seek approval for story ideas.
- Repeat the same mental and physical activities.
- May work full time or part time. Most work full time.
- Work varying hours. They are usually assigned to a day or evening shift.
- Sometimes have to change their work hours to meet deadlines or follow late-breaking news stories.
- May sometimes travel to other areas to gather information and report news.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Sit when writing or broadcasting stories.
- Repeat the same movements.
- Use their hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Use fingers to grasp or move very small objects.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.