Investigative reporters thoroughly research and investigate news stories for television and print publications. Often the stories are in the public interest and according to Schools in the USA, investigative reporters expose scandal and uncover stories that people would rather keep quiet. Investigative reporters often spend a considerable amount of time investigating a story, researching documents and interviewing contributors before broadcasting or writing.
Employers generally look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Thus, if you seek a role in the broadcast industry, take courses in production; if you seek print work, take writing courses, according to the BLS. Employers place great emphasis on practical experience, so taking part in an internship program, writing on a college newspaper or working at a school television station are all beneficial.
Investigative reporters should be solid interviewers, analytical and open-minded, according to Schools in the USA. Beneficial qualities are a genuine interest in news and people. The BLS notes that reporters should have good communication and word processing skills. They must strive for impartiality and be accurate, for publishing untrue or libelous statements can lead to expensive lawsuits.
The role of an investigative reporter involves thoroughly, accurately and properly researching all information. Typical day-to-day tasks include sifting through records and documents, turning complex subject matter into easy-to-understand copy, discussing stories with editors and interviewing people connected with a story. The responsibilities vary, depending upon the size of a publication; however, Schools in the USA notes that investigative reporters also make shorthand notes, take photographs and write commentaries and editorials.
Breaking into the world of journalism is highly competitive. Job prospects are most positive in online media, such as online newspapers, according to the BLS. The BLS also reports that the industry is expected to decline by around six percent until 2018. Because newspapers and broadcasting rely on advertising revenue, the industry suffers in periods of economic downturn.
Salary varies according to experience, level of responsibility and industry. The average annual salary for a reporter in May 2008 was $34,850, according to the BLS. The highest paid in the industry earned more than $77,480.
- Photo Credit newspaper image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com
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