Career Development

What Does a Field Reporter Do?

Find out what a field reporter does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a field reporter.

Field reporters are the people you see on TV or read about in the news who cover breaking stories as they happen. They’re often the “first responders” to major events, such as natural disasters, protests, and other situations where there is an immediate need for information.

Field reporting requires a unique combination of skills—you have to be able to think quickly on your feet while also being thorough and accurate in your reporting. You may spend hours waiting around for something interesting to happen, but when it does, you need to be ready to jump into action and get the story out as quickly as possible.

Field Reporter Job Duties

Field reporters have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Interviewing people in their homes or other locations to gather information about their experiences or opinions on a topic
  • Conducting research to gather facts and statistics that support their stories
  • Reporting on breaking news stories as they happen, often in real time
  • Conducting interviews with experts in their field to provide expert analysis of current events
  • Reporting live on breaking news stories for television programs such as the news or sports
  • Covering a wide range of topics including business, entertainment, politics, and health
  • Conducting research for news stories and developing story ideas for editors
  • Providing updates on a story’s progress as it develops, either through written reports or on-air appearances
  • Interviewing experts on various topics to provide expert analysis of current events

Field Reporter Salary & Outlook

Field reporters are typically paid a salary, which can vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $80,500 ($38.7/hour)

The employment of field reporters is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the continued need for information and data collection in a variety of fields, such as healthcare and business analytics. However, automation may limit employment growth because some tasks currently performed by field reporters can be done more quickly and accurately by computers.

Field Reporter Job Requirements

A field reporter typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most field reporter positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. A degree in journalism, communications or another related field is preferred by employers. Some employers may accept an associate’s degree in broadcasting or communications.

Training & Experience: Field reporters receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced reporters. They may shadow a current field reporter to learn the reporting process and the software the company uses. They may also learn how to use the equipment, such as a GPS device, to record data.

Certifications & Licenses: Field reporters don’t need a license or certification to get started in their career, but earning one can help you stand out to potential employers.

Field Reporter Skills

Field reporters need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Field reporting requires you to communicate with a variety of people, including producers, other reporters, camera operators and other field reporters. You must be able to communicate effectively in both verbal and written forms. You may also be required to communicate with people from other countries, so it’s important to have good communication skills in other languages.

Knowledge of sports: Field reporting often involves covering sporting events, so it’s important to have a basic understanding of the rules of the game and the different positions on a team. You may also be asked to interview professional athletes, so it’s helpful to know the names of different sports teams and players.

Ability to work independently: Field reporting often requires working independently, as you may be the only reporter on a story. This means you may need to drive to the location, conduct research, interview subjects and write your story. Being able to work independently can help you complete your tasks and submit a story on time.

Computer and camera skills: Field reporters use computer skills to write scripts, create graphics and edit video. They also use computer skills to research topics for their stories. Computer skills are also necessary for submitting stories to the news station. Camera skills are necessary for filming video and taking photographs.

Adaptability: Field reporting often involves working in a variety of environments, including studios, outdoors and at different locations. You can show your adaptability by being willing to travel and work in a variety of conditions. You can also show your adaptability by being open to changing your plans or working with new people.

Field Reporter Work Environment

Field reporters are often required to work long and irregular hours, as they must be available to cover breaking news stories at any time of day or night. They may work on weekends and holidays, and they may have to travel to remote locations, sometimes on short notice. Field reporters typically work for news organizations, such as newspapers, magazines, television stations, or radio stations. They may also work for online news outlets, wire services, or other news organizations.

Field Reporter Trends

Here are three trends influencing how field reporters work. Field reporters will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Digital Reporter

The rise of the digital reporter is a trend that is quickly changing the field of journalism. As more and more people get their news online, the need for field reporters will decrease.

Field reporters can still be successful in this new environment by developing strong digital skills. This includes learning how to use social media platforms to find sources, as well as becoming familiar with tools like Google Docs and WordPress.

More Use of Data Journalism

Data journalism is a growing trend in the field of reporting, as it allows journalists to tell a story in a new and innovative way. By using data, reporters are able to provide a deeper understanding of the topics they are covering.

As data journalism becomes more popular, field reporters will need to learn how to use data to their advantage. This may include learning how to collect data or how to analyze data sets. In addition, field reporters will need to be able to communicate the findings from data journalism in a way that is easy for readers to understand.

Greater Focus on Investigative Reporting

Investigative reporting is a staple of the journalistic profession, but in recent years it has become even more important. This is due to the fact that investigative reporting often leads to major breakthroughs in uncovering corruption and other wrongdoing.

As investigative reporting becomes more important, field reporters will need to develop the skills necessary to do this type of work. This includes being able to track down sources, conduct interviews, and research information in order to find the truth.

How to Become a Field Reporter

A career as a field reporter can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to have the right skills and experience if you want to become a successful field reporter. You should be able to work independently, have strong writing skills, and be comfortable in front of the camera.

You should also be prepared for long hours and hard work. As a field reporter, you may be required to travel long distances and work odd hours. You will also need to be able to handle difficult situations on your own.

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance as a field reporter is to move to a larger market. Field reporters who have proven themselves in a small market may be able to find a job in a larger market, where they will have more opportunities to cover major stories. As reporters gain experience, they may move into positions such as news anchor or managing editor. Some reporters may also choose to start their own news website or blog.

Field Reporter Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for a field reporter who can provide accurate, timely, and compelling stories about the people, places, and events that make our city great. The ideal candidate will have a nose for news and a knack for finding the human angle in every story. He or she will be a strong writer with the ability to produce clean, concise copy on deadline. Additionally, the candidate will be a skilled interviewer with the ability to put people at ease and draw out the best in their subjects. The candidate will also have a basic understanding of photography and videography, as well as experience with social media.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Research, write, and edit stories for broadcast and digital platforms
  • Shoot video and photos to accompany stories
  • Book guests and interview subjects for stories
  • Work with producers and editors to ensure stories are accurate and meet editorial standards
  • Meet deadlines for story assignments
  • Cover breaking news stories as they happen
  • Write live scripts for newscasts
  • Deliver on-air reports
  • Post stories online
  • Engage with viewers on social media platforms
  • Perform other duties as assigned
  • Must be willing to travel

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or related field
  • Minimum 4-5 years professional reporting experience with solid portfolio of work
  • Exceptional writing and research skill
  • Ability to work independently and with a team to meet deadlines
  • Excellent organizational skill and multitasking ability
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Adobe Acrobat Pro

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Social media or content marketing experience a plus
  • Proofreading experience and familiarity with standard style guides a plus
  • Experience working with content management systems, WordPress, etc.
  • A keen eye for detail and appreciation of great design
  • Field reporting experience in multiple locations
  • Familiarity with newsroom software programs, such as iNews and ENPS


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