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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 digital media.

Also Known As

Broadcast Reporter, Digital Journalist, 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

  • 5123: Journalists

2006 NOC-S

  • F023: Journalists

2011 NOC

  • 5123: Journalists

2016 NOC

  • 5123: Journalists

2021 NOC

  • 51113: Journalists

2023 OaSIS

  • 51113.00: Journalists
Duties
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Reporters in the print and broadcast media make news items available to the public. Some report on local, national, or international events. Others write critical reviews of literary or artistic works based on personal knowledge, judgment, and experience.

Editors may assign stories or articles to reporters. Reporters also need to pitch their own ideas. This means they suggest ideas for stories they feel would interest the public.

Reporters translate complex issues into concise, informative news stories. To do this, they research and verify information from:

  • Documents
  • Meetings
  • Interviews
  • Conferences or court hearings
  • Artistic performances or sporting events
  • Press statements
  • Tips

They also conduct in-person, telephone, or virtual interviews with:

  • Individuals involved in news events
  • Witnesses
  • Subject matter experts
  • Others whose activities are of public interest

They either take notes or record the interview to preserve the information given by the interviewee.

Reporters organize the information they have gathered into factual or analytical reports. The stories they produce must be accurate, fair, and balanced.

More and more reporters use smartphones at the scene of a news story. They shoot photos and videos that can be posted to their organization’s website and social media channels right away. They may need to edit their own photos or videos when required.

Reporters maintain a presence on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, blogs, and forums. On these sites, they:

  • Post breaking news
  • Provide updates on ongoing developments
  • Monitor other posts for news and tips

Different types of reporters may have other responsibilities.

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
  • Conduct live on-air interviews
  • 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.

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

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). Some print reporters provide photos or videos for their stories. They may use phones to write and post stories to websites or social media channels while on assignment.

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 certain news area such as police, city hall, or law courts)
  • Writing 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
  • Producing features, investigative pieces, or short documentaries

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 24, 2023
  • 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

Reporters who are in the early stage of their career may work weekends, nights, early mornings, or all the above.

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

Reporters may experience public criticism, trolling, and other forms of online harassment.

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

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Reporters need:

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

In addition, broadcast 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

Reporters should enjoy:

  • Finding new approaches to stories
  • Dealing with people
  • Generating interest in news stories
  • Compiling information in a methodical way

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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Journalists

2016 NOC: 5123

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 16 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 01, 2021 and May 02, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Write editorials and commentaries on topics of current interest to stimulate public interest and express the views of a publication or broadcasting station
Tasks: Write news stories for publication and broadcast
Tasks: Receive, analyze and verify copy for accuracy
Tasks: Collect information through interview, investigation and observation
Tasks: Write critical reviews of literary, musical and other artistic works based on knowledge, judgement and experience
Tasks: Arrange for and conduct interviews as part of research, for publication or for broadcast
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Excellent written communication
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Construction Specialization: Flexibility
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2023
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

There are no standard education requirements for reporters. However, most employers prefer applicants with a diploma or degree in broadcasting or journalism.

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.

Reporters must be willing to keep up to date with 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, reporters need specialized knowledge in certain areas, such as art or politics. Notetaking skills, and computer and internet research skills are essential.

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 (CMS). They must be able to use digital cameras and video equipment.


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 24, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 24, 2023

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
  • Have flexible schedules
  • 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:

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5123: Journalists occupational group, 87.6% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5123: Journalists occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.7% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 9 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: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 24, 2023

Salaries for reporters vary greatly. Earnings may depend on a wide range of factors, such as whether they:

  • Work at a salaried position or on a freelance basis
  • Work in radio, television, or for a web-based broadcaster
  • Write for a print-based magazine or newspaper or a digital-only publication
  • Report for a small weekly newspaper, a large city daily, or a wire service
  • Have a regular beat such as health, culture, sports, entertainment, or politics
  • Do general reporting or write a regular column
  • Report on local or international issues
  • Travel abroad for international stories, including to war zones
  • Are just starting out or have made a name for themselves

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

ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation

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 24, 2023

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

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

Updated Mar 24, 2023. 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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