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News Bureau Chief: Job Duties, Requirements and Salary

A news bureau chief requires significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

News bureau chiefs are senior members of a reporting team who delegate assignments to reporters, camera operators, and producers. This position requires significant industry experience, often in larger cities, and a bachelor's degree. Management and foreign language skills are also beneficial in this field.

Essential Information

News bureaus are media offices set up for the purpose of gathering, writing, and distributing news coverage. A news bureau chief is an experienced reporter or correspondent who holds a management position in the newsroom and is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the reporting staff to investigate and cover stories, often for dissemination to other media outlets. A bachelor's degree and prior related experience are required to become a news bureau chief.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Industry experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -8% for all reporters and correspondents
Median Salary (2016) $51,293 for all news analysts, reporters and correspondents**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Job Duties of a News Bureau Chief

As a seasoned reporter, the bureau chief may perform many of the same tasks as members of the reporting team. They investigate leads and tips, conduct interviews, research stories, write and edit news, update Web content, meet publication or broadcast deadlines, and report on newsworthy events. Bureau chiefs often have experience working with relevant production and technical equipment as well. In their capacity as newsroom managers, bureau chiefs coordinate and assign news coverage to reporters, photographers and videographers, editors, producers, and other members of the news team. They may also serve as administrators, working with other newsroom managers or directors to set budgets and fulfill human resources functions related to training, hiring, and managing staff.

News bureau chiefs use their judgment and experience to set the news agenda according to publication, station, or media conglomerate guidelines, and maintain journalistic integrity, accuracy, and fairness. A bureau may focus on local, national, or international news coverage, or it may have a subject-specific focus, such as government affairs, politics, or economics. In all of these situations, the bureau chief must employ his or her expertise to develop professional contacts with subject-matter experts, government officials, and other important figures to best obtain news information.

Education Requirements to Become a News Bureau Chief

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that reporter and correspondent jobs usually require a four-year degree in journalism or mass communications, college media and internship experience, and the diligent pursuit of relevant job training and skills (www.bls.gov). The BLS further noted that advancement to a management position, such as bureau chief, required reporters to put in significant time and make career moves to bigger markets or larger cities as opportunities arose.

Bachelor's degrees in journalism, broadcasting, or mass communication usually require courses in communications history, law, and ethics, as well as classes where students learn the essential news functions of writing, reporting, producing and editing. Depending on the program, students may be able to specialize in print or broadcast media, and many schools offer courses in media management or a variety of reporting specialties, all of which can prepare potential bureau chiefs. Undergraduate degrees may also include internship opportunities or study abroad options, which provide hands-on news production and reporting experience.

The BLS also recommends a range of coursework in liberal arts subjects as well as subject-matter specializations, which can serve bureau chiefs at news outlets with a specialized focus. Foreign language proficiency, which the BLS also recommends for reporters and correspondents, can be important for those aspiring to work at foreign or international news bureaus.

News Bureau Chief Job Outlook and Salary

The BLS reported an 8% decline in job growth for all reporters and correspondents from 2014-2024. Although salary figures for news bureau chiefs alone are not available, the BLS reported in May 2015 that the median annual wage for reporters and correspondents was $36,360. The BLS also noted that salaries varied with experience and location. In October 2016, PayScale.com reported that news analysts, reporters and correspondents earned a median annual income of $51,293 (www.payscale.com).

A news bureau chief manages and delegates the work of the reporters in their bureau, and has excellent oral and written communication skills along with the ability to maintain contacts with sources and experts across various industries. They typically need a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications, with studies ranging from ethics to reporting. Between 2014 and 2024, there will be a significant decline in new job openings for reporters and correspondents.


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