News analysts, reporters, and correspondents gather facts, attend and observe events, and inform the public. They may work for local, national, or international news organizations, in print, on television or radio, or online. Professionals in this field use their skills to interview, investigate, and observe newsworthy events. Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and online news sites depend on these professionals to keep their audiences informed.
News Analyst, Reporter, and Correspondent Job Responsibilities
News analysts (also known as newscasters or news anchors) appear on television news shows, introduce stories, interview guests, and present factual information to the audience. News correspondents appear on television news shows and present stories from the location at which they are stationed. They may appear live or on videotape. News reporters or journalists gather information and present it to the audience, either through video, print, or a combination of the two.
Large media organizations may have specialized journalists that report on a particular field or area, such as sports, weather, or even international news. In smaller organizations, there is less specialization and a single reporter may report on a wide variety of events, take photographs, write articles or scripts, and appear on the newscast.
News analysts, reporters, and correspondents may work in a quiet office, a crowded newsroom floor, or a television studio. Onsite locations for news stories, such as wars, accidents, and natural disasters, may be dangerous. Because many news events are unexpected, this can be a hectic and stressful field, with deadlines constantly looming and often little time for preparation. Reporters and correspondents may be required to work at unconventional hours.
News Analyst, Reporter, and Correspondent Training and Education Requirements
Most news analysts, reporters, and correspondents have at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in journalism or communication. Employers look for experience in working for school newspapers or television stations. Competition is high for positions at national organizations; most new graduates begin their careers at smaller, local papers or television stations.
Those seeking careers in this field should attend a college or university accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, or ACEJMC. A typical bachelor’s program in journalism or communications emphasizes a well-rounded, liberal arts education with courses in English, writing, and sociology. Other courses focus on specialty areas such as mass media, basic reporting, and copy editing.
Graduate programs at the master’s and doctorate level are also available, especially as preparation for teachers, professors, researchers, and theorists. A graduate degree may help those who want to advance in the field.
Strong computer and other technical skills are necessary for careers in this area, ranging from word processing to desktop publishing to graphics programs. Some analysts or reporters may need to operate video or photography equipment as well.
News Analyst, Reporter, and Correspondent Salary and Wages
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is expected to decline moderately throughout the next decade. Employment will be more competitive at larger national and international news organizations; job seekers may have more success with local institutions. Those with expertise in a highly sought field such as technology should have more success.
News organizations are in a period of consolidation and acquisitions, which accounts for the projected decline. Organizations are allocating their human resources more efficiently and consolidating job responsibilities as much as possible. In addition, because the profitability of news organizations is directly tied to advertising revenue, fluctuations in employment at these organizations correlate with the economy.
Self-employed, freelance journalists may be more able to sustain their careers by working for a wide variety of organizations at the same time.
As of May 2009, the median annual wage for broadcast news analysts was $50,400. Industries employing the most individuals in this field are radio/ television broadcasting, cable and other subscription programming, and newspaper/periodical publishers. These also tend to be the top paying industries in this field. As would be expected, salaries tend to be higher at national news organizations than at local stations or newspapers.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
News Analyst, Reporter, and Correspondent Certifications
Because employers report that practical experience is the most important part of education and training, there is little formal certification in this field outside of the college degree programs. However, many of the professional associations conduct conferences and provide other opportunities for continuing education.
News Analyst, Reporter, and Correspondent Professional Associations
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is the trade association for television and radio broadcasters. They help to insure that policymakers in government and the private sector make informed decisions that affect the broadcasting industry.
The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) is the world’s largest professional organization for electronic news professionals. The RTDNA dedicates itself to setting standards for the gathering and reporting of news.
The Online News Association is made up of professional digital journalists who gather or produce news for digital media (typically the internet). ONA hosts annual conferences on the latest developments and standards in digital journalism and technology and sponsors the Online Journalism Awards.