How to Become a TV Reporter: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become a TV reporter. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in television reporting. View article »

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a TV Reporter?
  • 0:35 Career Requirements
  • 1:13 Steps to Becoming a TV…

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a TV Reporter?

TV reporters are responsible for covering their assigned stories and reporting them to the general public on-air. They investigate and research stories, write reports and then objectively and accurately report newsworthy information. There is strong competition for these on-air jobs, particularly in larger or metropolitan news markets. Often TV reporters have to start their career in small markets in small towns to gain experience. They also may have to work early morning or late night reporting shifts. Still, those who advance in the field have the opportunity to travel and cultivate a level of on-air recognition.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Journalism, communications, English, political science, or related field
Experience Internships or field experience recommended
Key Skills Strong communication and interpersonal skills; objectivity and determination; familiarity with video and digital cameras and mobile broadcasting equipment; ability to use social media applications and database programs such as Microsoft Access and FileMaker Pro
Salary $37,720 (2015 median for reporters and correspondents)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine

TV reporters should have a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications, English, political science, or a related field. Internships and field experience are also recommended. Key skills of TV reporters include strong communication and interpersonal skills, objectivity, determination, familiarity with video and digital cameras and mobile broadcasting equipment, and the ability to use social media applications and database programs such as Microsoft Access and FileMaker Pro. As of 2015, the median annual salary for reporters and correspondents was $37,720. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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Steps to Becoming a TV Reporter

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

TV reporters typically major in journalism or communications. These degree plans focus heavily on communication and writing skills by providing instruction in most genres of communication. For aspiring TV reporters, upper-level coursework should focus on broadcasting. Bachelor's degree programs specifically for broadcasting are also available. Coursework in subjects such as international communications, law and ethics of journalism, public affairs reporting, editing, and broadcast reporting help to prepare students for careers in this field.

Gain Experience During College

Students who aspire to become TV reporters can begin gaining experience while earning their degree. Opportunities for hands-on experience in news writing and broadcasting are available through campus organizations including radio or television broadcast groups, school newspapers, and broadcasting clubs. Students might also seek out internships with local news stations to gain professional experience in the field and begin networking for jobs after graduation. Any type of field experience is beneficial for job seekers in this highly competitive profession.

Step 2: Gain Employment

Recent graduates in this field typically start their careers at smaller broadcasting stations as general reporters. With experience, novice reporters are gradually given higher-profile stories. Reporters may investigate leads and research information for a story, as well as report their findings on-air. TV reporters often report on-site, usually during a live broadcast.

With proven experience, TV reporters from smaller stations often become strong candidates for reporting jobs at larger news stations, typically in bigger cities. Some reporters eventually become TV news anchors, while others become correspondents in specific areas of news coverage.

Step 3: Join a Professional Organization

TV reporters may choose to join professional organizations in the industry, such as the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Membership benefits include networking opportunities, professional development resources and information on industry trends. The networking and professional opportunities combined with work experience may provide reporters skills for career advancement.

Hopeful TV reporters should enroll in a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, or a related field then seek out broadcast opportunities at their university, complete internships, and gain small town news channel experience before moving on to report in bigger cities or work as a news anchor.

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