Reporting is also known as news gathering (newsgathering).


Reporters research news and present the information, normally in certain types of mass media.

Reporting is usually distinguished from similar work, such as writing in general, by news values (factors that determine newsworthiness) and journalism values (such as objectivity).

Reporters get their information in a variety of ways, including tips, press releases, and witnessing an event. They perform research through interviews, public records and other sources. The information-gathering part of the job is sometimes called "reporting" as distinct from the production part of the job, such as writing articles.

Most reporters are assigned an area to focus on, called a "beat". They are encouraged to "cultivate sources" so they won't miss news.

Reporters usually have a college degree. The degree is often in journalism, but that is not required. When hiring reporters, editors give much weight to the reporter's previous work, (such as newspaper "clips") even when written for a student newspaper or as part of an internship.

One common misconception is that newspaper reporters write the headlines for their articles, but those are written by copy editors.

Journalism has as its main activity the reporting of events — stating who, what, when, where, why and how, and explaining the significance and effect of events or trends. Journalism exists in a number of media: newspapers, television, radio, magazines and, most recently, the Internet.

The subject matter of journalism can be anything and everything, and journalists report and write on a wide variety of subjects: politics on the international, national, provincial and local levels, economics and business on the same four levels, health and medicine, education, sports, hobbies and recreation, lifestyles, clothing, food, pets, sex and relationships.... Journalists can report for general interest news outlets like newspapers, news magazines and broadcast sources; general circulation specialty publications like trade and hobby magazines, or for news publications and outlets with a select group of subscribers.

Journalists are usually expected and required to go out to the scene of a story to gather information for their reports, and often may compose their reports in the field. They also use the telephone, the computer and the internet to gather information. However, more often those reports are written, and are almost always edited, in the newsroom, the office space where journalists and editors work together to prepare news content.

Journalists, especially if they cover a specific subject or area (a "beat") are expected to cultivate sources, people in the subject or area, that they can communicate with, either to explain the details of a story, or to provide leads to other subjects of stories yet to be reported. They are also expected to develop their investigative skills to better research and report stories.

Print journalism[]

For more information about writing a news story, see News style

Print journalism can be split into several categories: newspapers, news magazines, general interest magazines, trade magazines, hobby magazines, newsletters, private publications, online news pages and others. Each genre can have its own requirements for researching and writing reports.

For example, newspaper journalists in the United States have traditionally written reports using the inverted pyramid style, although this style is used more for straight or hard news reports rather than features. Written hard news reports are expected to be spare in the use of words, and to list the most important information first, so that, if the story must be cut because there is not enough space for it, the least important facts will be automatically cut from the bottom. Editors usually ensure that reports are written with as few words as possible. Feature stories are usually written in a looser style that usually depends on the subject matter of the report, and in general granted more space (see Feature-writing below).

News magazine and general interest magazine articles are usually written in a different style, with less emphasis on the inverted pyramid. Trade publications can be more news-oriented, while hobby publications can be more feature-oriented.

Broadcast journalism[]

For more information about radio and television journalism, see News broadcasting

Radio journalists must gather facts to present them fairly and accurately, but also must find and record relevant and interesting sounds to add to their reports, both interviews with people involved in the story and background sounds that help characterize the story. Radio reporters may also write the introduction to the story read by a radio news anchor, and may also answers questions live from the anchor.

Television journalists rely on visual information to illustrate and characterize their reporting, including on-camera interviews with people involved in the story, shots of the scene where the story took place, and graphics usually produced at the station to help frame the story. Like radio reporters, television reporters also may write the introductory script that a television news anchor would read to set up their story. Both radio and television journalists usually do not have as much "space" to present information in their reports as print journalists.

On-line journalism[]

The fast and vast growth of the Internet and World Wide Web has spawned the newest medium for journalism, on-line journalism. The speed at which news can be disseminated on the web, and the profound penetration to anyone with a computer and web browser, have greatly increased the quantity and variety of news reports available to the average web user.

The bulk of on-line journalism has been the extension of existing print and broadcast media into the web via web versions of their primary products. New reports that were set to be released at expected times now can be published as soon as they are written and edited, increasing the deadline pressure and fear of being scooped many journalists must deal with.

Most news websites are free to their users — one notable exception being the Wall Street Journal website, for which a subscripton is required to view its contents — but some outlets, such as the New York Times website, offer current news for free but archived reports and access to opinion columnists and other non-news sections for a periodic fee. Attempts to start unique web publications, such as Slate and Salon, have met with limited success, in part because they do or did charge subscription fees.

The growth of blogs as a source of news and especially opinion on the news has forever changed journalism. Blogs now can create news as well as report it, and blur the dividing line between news and opinion. The debate about whether blogging is really journalism rages on (see blogging entry below).

External links[]

Investigative reporting
Beats, story topics

Credit and category[]

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