A newspaper reporter's job involves assessing the relevance of events and writing engaging, readable stories based upon these happenings. Typically a newspaper will assign reporters to specialties, such as local or national news, various political beats, sports, and business. The reporter works within his or her specialty to help report news as it happens, and he or she is expected to be accurate and adhere to common journalistic practices and ethics. Because of the commercial nature of newspapers as a medium, however, many employers will expect their reporters to find stories that sell papers.
A newspaper reporter may typically work on multiple stories during a given day. These can include the more typical reportage of common events, as well as more in-depth pieces that may extend to feature- length or multi-part stories. Whatever the case, the reporter works within certain journalistic parameters regarding the sourcing, including on-the-record, anonymous, or off-the-record statements. The news reporter works to convey information in a readable fashion, typically fashioning a summary lead in the first paragraphs of a story and building off of that throughout the piece.
Newspaper reporting remains a competitive field, and most successful reporters will thus seek to gain an advantage by getting a college degree in journalism with an emphasis on reporting. Newspaper reporters will typically intern throughout their college years and work within the confines of a student paper. Most newspaper reporters will split time between a newsroom desk and field work, and they may be required to work long, fairly irregular hours.
Reporter, Newspaper Tasks
Review copy and correct errors in content, grammar, and punctuation, following prescribed editorial style and formatting guidelines.
Report and write news stories for publication, describing the background and details of events.
Arrange interviews with people who can provide information about a particular story.
Generate and follow through with story ideas.