Financial Reporter: Salary, Requirements and Career Overview

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a financial reporter. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and employment information to find out if this is the career for you.

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Earning a bachelor's or master's degree in journalism, economics or finance could serve aspiring financial reporters well in their preparation for this career. Necessary skills for success in this profession include research, writing and source development, as well as a solid understanding of business and finance.

Essential Information

Financial reporters use research, interviewing and writing skills to produce stories about financial markets, government and business. They contribute to daily newspapers, news broadcasts, business magazines and websites. Salaries for these reporters fluctuate depending on experience and the type and size of the media outlet. A bachelor's degree in economics or journalism with an emphasis on business provides knowledge and skills helpful for entering the profession.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% decline for reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts*
Average Annual Salary (2015) $46,560 for reporters and correspondents
$89,240 for broadcast news analysts*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Overview

Financial reporters conduct research, interview subjects and write about economic matters. They might cover general stories about financial markets or tackle monetary facets of a specific beat, such as the government, entertainment, agriculture or real estate. It's important for these reporters to know about mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, labor and union relations and stock market trends. Financial reporters contribute to a wide range of media outlets, including major newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines, business-to-business (b2b) publications, daily business blogs, and network and cable broadcasts.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2015, the mean annual wage for reporters and correspondents was $46,560, and the mean salary for broadcast news analysts was $89,240. These figures reflect general salaries for all workers in the field; the BLS doesn't collect data for financial reporters specifically. Salaries for reporters writing for national publications with large circulations are typically higher than those for media outlets with smaller audiences.

Freelance financial reporters are usually paid per piece, either a set amount per word or a flat fee for each article. Pay rates fluctuate for such endeavors depending on the publication.

Education Options

Although not a requirement, financial reporters might benefit from bachelor's or master's degree programs in journalism. Many universities offer the opportunity to emphasize business journalism. Those who study economics or finance will also gain a lot of the preparation necessary for this career. Journalism programs typically offer courses in writing for print, Internet and broadcast. Classes in media law, ethics, investigative reporting, economics, statistics and editing develop the necessary skill set for financial reporters.

Required Skills

Financial reporters need to be computer savvy, deadline-driven and knowledgeable about financial markets to succeed in this field. Essential skills for the job include the following:

  • Concise, accurate writing
  • Mathematics
  • Interviewing
  • Source development
  • Public records research
  • Financial statement interpretation
  • Government document procurement

Successful financial reporters must possess a solid grasp of a range of topics in order to write and report succinctly and accurately. These topics can include bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions, stock market trends, and real estate. A degree in journalism can provide a good foundation for this career, and salaries vary, depending on the employer.

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