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Reporter

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

  • Avg. Salary $57,807.00
  • Avg. Wage $30.19
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

57%
57%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Reporter is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Journalists
NOC code: 5123
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

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 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 More

Duties
Updated Mar 29, 2016

Reporters in the print and broadcast media make information about local, national and international events readily available to the public. In general, they:

  • research and verify information found in documents and from meetings, interviews, conferences, court hearings, artistic performances, sporting events and press statements
  • interview, in person or by telephone, individuals involved in news events, witnesses, knowledgeable people and 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 as assigned by editors or find stories on their own initiative
  • 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 (for example, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, blogs, forums) to post breaking news and ongoing developments and monitor sites for news and tips.

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

Novice reporters and those working for small weekly newspapers may be given a variety of assignments, including taking photographs, writing headlines and captions, laying out pages, editing wire service copy, and writing editorials or columns in addition to covering all aspects of local news. 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 that 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.

Reporters increasingly are using smartphones at the scene of a news story to shoot photos and videos that immediately can be posted to the newspaper's website. Some print reporters are equipped with video cameras as well.

Magazine reporters may do extensive in-depth research because magazines have relatively specialized readerships. Some magazine reporters work on a freelance basis.

Broadcast reporters often report live from the scene of a news event, composing 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 under the supervision of a news editor or director
  • assist in directing camera operators who are filming news events.

In smaller radio and television stations, broadcast reporters may operate electronic equipment such as television cameras, broadband links, and audio and video editing machines and software.

Online producers (reporters) write stories for websites that 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 29, 2016

Print, broadcast and online reporters must cope with a hectic pace, the pressure of deadlines, unhelpful news sources, long irregular hours and a work environment filled with noise, interruptions and distractions. Some assignments (for example, covering wars or natural disasters) are dangerous.

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 29, 2016

Print and broadcast reporters need the following characteristics:

  • strong interviewing skills
  • an interest in people and current events
  • initiative, curiosity, persistence, resourcefulness, objectivity, integrity, creativity and an accurate memory
  • the physical and emotional stamina required to cope with the pressures of their competitive, fast-paced jobs
  • the ability to present facts and opinions clearly, concisely, logically and coherently in a style free of grammatical and spelling errors
  • a willingness to keep abreast of current events and developments.

In addition, broadcast media reporters require:

  • composure and poise on camera or in front of a microphone
  • fluency in another language or some knowledge of the pronunciation of other languages
  • formal voice training.

All reporters should enjoy finding novel approaches to stories, dealing with people, stimulating interest in news stories and taking a methodical approach to compiling information.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 29, 2016

There are no standard education requirements for reporters, but employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have a related diploma or degree. Reporters need detailed knowledge of the geography, history, economy, politics, media law and social life of the communities and countries in which they work. For writing critical reviews and analyses, they also 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 extremely valuable. Large daily newspapers usually require their reporters to have at least 3 years of practical experience at another daily newspaper.

For broadcast reporters, experience in radio or television stations is essential. Many broadcast reporters begin in small rural or local cable stations as volunteers or through a work experience component of a post-secondary education program.

Online producers must be able to work with technical people, have some knowledge of website programming and content management systems and be able to use digital cameras and video equipment.

Post-secondary schools throughout Alberta offer 3-year and 4-year bachelor of arts (BA) degree programs in communications, Canadian studies, economics, political science and history. In general, entrance requirements include a competitive average in English Language Arts 30-1 and 4 other appropriate Grade 12 subjects (for example, Social Studies 30, Math 30, a second language), or equivalent. Specific course requirements vary.


Related Education

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

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 29, 2016

Competition for entry-level reporter jobs is keen. Employment prospects may be better for those who specialize in a particular field, combine writing with other skills (for example, research, languages, business) or 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 also can be applied in related occupations, such as technical writer, advertising copywriter, public relations worker, media consultant, legislative aide or advisor, educational writer, fiction writer, biographer, screenwriter or 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 in this occupation will be 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 29, 2016

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

Journalists
NOC code: 5123

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $11.92 $49.90 $24.79 $26.07
Overall $16.34 $52.94 $30.19 $31.25
Top $17.92 $67.68 $37.89 $38.75

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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

57%
57%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

16%
16%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

3%
3%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Communication Technology
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 29, 2016

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 19, 2016. 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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