Career Advice on How to Become a Reporter or Correspondent

General Career Information

Do you like to talk? Are you a busy body that likes to stick your nose in other people’s business? Well, being a reporter or a news correspondent could very well be the job for you. As you reporter, you get to stick your nose in other people’s lives, while at the same time you get to be all high and mighty about it. 
Yes, you can actually get paid to dig up dirt on others and act morally superior about it. Now the days of real journalism may pretty much be gone, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get in on the action and maybe even feed your ego by getting on television.

Career Facts:

Many journalists find that they must go through an extremely demanding undergraduate curriculum that is designed to weed out lesser minds. No, not really, most reporters and correspondents have a degree in journalism or the ever-so grueling communications degree. So don’t be fooled anyone can do it. Yes, even you, and yes, even your dim-witted friend. In this new era of journalism, you are as likely to report on a cute bear, as you are anything that approximates “real” news. 

As a reporter or correspondent you will, in theory, cover important stories that impact people’s lives. In reality, you are more likely to cover a donut that looks like Jesus or the Virgin Mary.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Poor:

The number of reporters and correspondents isn’t expected to grow much at all between now and 2016. And why should it? You don’t need ten people to show you cute pictures of pandas being born at the zoo, do you? A one-percent job growth in this career is expected, meaning that by 2016 there will be roughly 60,000 reporters and correspondents covering such breaking news as J-Lo’s newest perfume line for toy dogs, exclusively of course.
Job Outlook is Poor

A Day in The Life:

A lucky few reporters or correspondents will begin their day knowing that they will be covering actual news stories in far away locations where their lives are in danger. But most reporters just show up at work and get their assignments, which can lead them into the field to cover an important shopping mall opening, or do to a hard-hitting piece on a cat that can make dog noises. 
After they acquire the necessary footage for their “story,” they head back for some quick editing with a broken down nub of a man who is usually forty to sixty pounds overweight, grumpy and an avid fan of cigarettes and fast food. This man is called an editor, and he more than likely hates you and all you stand for, even though he isn’t sure what that is exactly. You then edit your piece of “news” and complain about how your hair doesn’t look too hot.
For newspaper reporters, the process differs greatly, as your “craft” involves the written word, of course. This means that you must write your story about the cat that makes dog noises. You may go out into the field to interview people about said cat, but much of your work can be done from the office or through a phone interview.

Average Salary:

One might expect that the average reporter or correspondent might earn big, big bucks, but this isn’t the case. For every robotic millionaire like Brian Williams that reads news off a teleprompter and tries to act concerned, there are a multitude of reporters and correspondents earning on average about $33,000 a year. This fact is made especially pitiful when you consider those who are assigned dangerous assignments in far away lands.

$30k - $35k


Career Training and Qualifications:

There are over 1,500 institutions that offer programs in communications and journalism. Students in these programs learn all the elements of what makes a good “cat who sounds like dog” story, such as how to dig, and finding out what the owner is really hiding about the cat, and so on.
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