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Reporter

Reporters gather information and write articles for print media (newspapers and magazines) or prepare news items (written, audiotaped, or videotaped) for broadcast on radio, television, or the internet.

Also Known As

Broadcast Reporter, Journalist, Magazine Reporter, Multimedia Journalist, Newspaper Reporter, Online Producer, Radio Reporter, Television Reporter

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Journalists (5123) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Journalists (F023) 
  • 2011 NOC: Journalists (5123) 
  • 2016 NOC: Journalists (5123) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Journalists

2006 NOC: 5123

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in writing news stories for publication and broadcast; in preparing regular feature columns and stories on specialized topics; in writing editorials and commentaries on topics of current interest; to express the views of publication and broadcasting stations

SOCIAL

Interest in diverting to stimulate public interest in current topics; and in arranging for and conducting interviews as part of research and for radio and television programs

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to receive, analyze and verify news and other copy for accuracy

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Reporters in the print and broadcast media make news items available to the public. They may report on local, national, or international events. In general, they:

  • Research and verify information found:
    • In documents
    • From meetings
    • During interviews
    • At conferences or court hearings
    • At artistic performances or sporting events
    • In press statements
  • Interview, in person or by telephone:
    • Individuals involved in news events
    • Witnesses
    • Subject matter experts
    • Others whose activities are of public interest
  • Go “live on location” to provide eyewitness coverage of some events
  • Translate complex issues into concise, informative news stories
  • Research and write articles or stories assigned by editors, or find stories on their own
  • Write news stories that are accurate, fair, and balanced
  • Write critical reviews of literary or artistic works based on personal knowledge, judgment, and experience
  • Produce concise written copy from notes or tape recordings taken during interviews or press conferences
  • Organize material into factual or analytical reports
  • Maintain a presence on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, blogs, and forums, to:
    • Post breaking news
    • Provide updates on ongoing developments
    • Monitor sites for news and tips
  • Provide a visual component to news stories (either photography or video)
  • Edit their own photos or video when required

Newspaper reporters use computers to compose and edit text. They send copy to an editor or the newswire (in the case of a wire service).

Novice reporters and those working for small weekly newspapers may receive a variety of assignments in addition to covering all aspects of local news. These may include:

  • Taking photographs
  • Writing headlines and captions
  • Laying out pages
  • Editing wire service copy
  • Writing editorials or columns

With experience, they may progress to:

  • General reporting or covering a beat (a particular news area such as police, city hall, or law courts)
  • Writing more analytical material or syndicated columns, which may be distributed to a large group of newspapers or magazines
  • Producing syndicated audio or video reports for subscribing radio or television stations
  • Reporting for news services that provide printed material to subscribing newspapers and magazines

More and more reporters use smartphones at the scene of a news story. They shoot photos and videos that can be posted to the newspaper’s website right away. Some print reporters have video cameras as well. They also may use phones to write and post stories to websites while on assignment.

Magazine reporters may do more in-depth research than news reporters. This is because magazines have more specialized readerships. Some magazine reporters work on a freelance basis.

Broadcast reporters often report live from the scene of a news event. They may compose their story on the spot. They also may:

  • Obtain video footage of current news events
  • Gather sound and video for news, current affairs programs, and documentaries
  • Conduct interviews using digital or tape recorders
  • Write and edit their own reports, supervised by a news editor or director
  • Help to direct camera operators who are filming news events

In smaller radio and television stations, broadcast reporters may operate electronic equipment. This can include television cameras and broadband link as well as audio and video editing machines and software.

Online producers (reporters) write stories for websites. These stories may include audio, video, and print components. They may write original stories or adapt traditional news items.

For information about photojournalists, see the Photographer occupational profile.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Print, broadcast, and online reporters must cope with:

  • A hectic pace
  • The pressure of deadlines
  • Unhelpful news sources
  • Long, irregular hours
  • A work environment filled with noise, interruptions, and distractions

Some assignments can be dangerous. These can range from covering wars or natural disasters to spot news, including fires, vehicle collisions, and police standoffs.

There is increased pressure on reporters to work quickly and be the first to post breaking news via digital media.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Print and broadcast reporters need:

  • Communication and interview skills
  • An interest in people and current events
  • Initiative, curiosity, persistence, and resourcefulness
  • Objectivity, integrity, creativity, and an accurate memory
  • Physical and emotional stamina to cope with the pressures of competitive, fast-paced work
  • Solid news judgment
  • Critical thinking

In addition, broadcast media reporters require:

  • Composure and poise on camera or in front of a microphone
  • Fluency in another language or knowledge of how to pronounce some sounds
  • Formal voice training

All reporters should enjoy finding novel approaches to stories and dealing with people. They should also like stimulating interest in news stories and compiling information in a methodical way.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

There are no standard education requirements for reporters. Employers generally prefer applicants with a related diploma or degree. Reporters must be willing to keep abreast of current events and developments. They should be able to learn quickly. They should be familiar with the geography, history, economy, politics, media law, and social life of the communities and countries they work in. For writing critical reviews and analyses, they need specialized knowledge in a particular area, such as art or politics. Computer and internet research skills are essential. Notetaking skills are an asset.

For newspaper and magazine reporters, practical experience on school publications or small rural weeklies is valuable. Large daily newspapers usually require their reporters to have at least 3 years of practical experience at another daily newspaper. Print-based reporters should be familiar with Canadian Press or Associated Press style guides.

For broadcast reporters, experience in radio or television stations is essential. Many broadcast reporters begin in small rural or local cable stations. They may gain experience as volunteers or through a work experience component of a post-secondary education program. Often smaller companies offer on-the-job voice training. Online producers must be able to work with technical people. They must have some knowledge of website programming and content management systems. They must be able to use digital cameras and video equipment.

Post-secondary schools throughout Alberta offer 3- and 4-year bachelor of arts (BA) degree programs in communications, Canadian studies, economics, political science, and history. 


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Competition for entry-level reporter jobs is strong. Employment prospects may be better for those who:

  • Specialize in a particular field
  • Combine writing with other skills, such as research, languages, or business
  • Are willing to relocate

New graduates often are employed in 1 or more contract or temporary positions before they find full-time employment with benefits. When they have more experience, they may move to a larger station or publication. Experienced reporters may advance to editorial positions in print media or become news anchors or producers in broadcast media.

Good writing skills can be applied in related jobs, such as:

  • Technical writer
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Public relations worker
  • Media consultant
  • Legislative aide or advisor
  • Educational writer
  • Fiction writer
  • Biographer
  • Screenwriter
  • Editor

For more information, see the Advertising Copywriter, Creative Writer, Editor, Public Relations Representative, and Technical Writer occupational profiles.

Reporters are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5123: Journalists. In Alberta, 90% of people employed in this classification work in the Information, Culture and Recreation [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Information, Culture and Recreation industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 5123: Journalists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 10% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Salaries for reporters in the magazine industry vary widely. They generally work on a freelance basis and are paid a fee for each individual article.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Journalists

2016 NOC: 5123
Average Wage
$34.13
Per Hour
Average Salary
$68,384.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.4
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 5123 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.41 $35.48 $27.98 $29.74
Overall $17.95 $43.34 $34.13 $37.80
Top $20.51 $44.77 $37.56 $39.31

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Information, Culture, Recreation
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
41%
41%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
41%
41%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) website: caj.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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