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News Reporter: What Types of Journalism Courses Should I Take?

News reporters require some postsecondary education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

News reporters are often journalism majors whose job is focused on reporting news, whether in-studio or out in the field. The courses they take teach the necessary reporting skills and introduce them to topics they will potentially report on. Experiential learning courses are beneficial.

Essential Information

News reporters work for television stations and radio stations reporting the news to the public. Most news reporters complete a bachelor's degree program, though many institutions also have masters and doctoral degree programs. Journalism students may specialize in certain areas, such as sports or business journalism. In the field of news reporting, experience is considered to be very important, so prospective reporters may benefit from working for their school's newspaper or interning for news outlets.

Education requirements Bachelor's degree in journalism or communications-related major
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -8% for reporters and correspondents
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $36,360 for reporters and correspondents

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Journalism Program Information

Many news reporters major in journalism in college because it provides them with the opportunity to develop their writing and speaking skills. At a minimum, employers generally seek candidates with bachelor's degrees in journalism or other communications-related majors. In addition to bachelor's degrees, many schools also offer master's and doctoral degree programs in journalism.

Most journalism programs have courses that specifically focus on skills and topics a news reporter will encounter. A list of courses from a standard journalism program may include online journalism, ethical problems in the media, news reporting and international communication.

Journalism programs also allow students to specialize in certain areas, such as business journalism, convergence photojournalism and sports journalism. Students should select a concentration based on their interest areas and the kinds of subject matter they want to cover in their future careers. Particular journalism concentrations, which are often interdisciplinary collaborations, will have their required and elective journalism courses tailored to fit the specifications of their concentrations.

Experience Requirements for News Reporters

While formal education is important for prospective news reporters, employers highly value candidates with practical experience as well. Students can take advantage of work opportunities with their school newspapers while they are in high school or college. They can also participate in internships or summer job opportunities with local newspapers or news organizations. Securing piece work as a freelance journalist is a way to gain work experience to build up a future news reporter's resume.

Career Outlook Information for News Reporters

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for news reporters and correspondents are expected to decline eight percent between 2014 and 2024. This decline is mostly attributable to the economic downturn, and competition for news reporter positions, especially in bigger cities and larger news organizations, will remain high. As of 2015 BLS data, the median annual salary for reporters and correspondents was $36,360.

While news networks are currently consolidating, there are still job openings available for reporters, and those with the most experience, skills, personality, and education will be the ones that get them. A number of journalistic classes can better prepare them for their career.

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