Education Reporter Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of an education reporter career? Get real job descriptions, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming an education reporter is right for you.
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An Education Reporter Career: Pros and Cons

Education reporters inform their community about matters concerning public, private, K-12 and continuing education by writing articles for print, creating television and radio broadcasts and developing content for the Web. Read on to find some pros and cons of a career in this field.

Pros of an Education Reporter Career
Provides opportunity to inform and influence the public*
Bachelor's programs are widely available*
Freelance opportunities are available*
Relevant job experience can be gained in high school and college*

Cons of an Education Reporter Career
Hours may be irregular*
Working on a deadline may be stressful*
Employment prospects are expected to decline by 13% from 2012-2022*
Story angles may conflict with personal opinions*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Education reporters investigate stories, attend events and research happenings within the field of education. Topics may include local matters such as school board meetings or larger events, such as federal legislation changes.

You may work for print, television, radio, the Web or a combination of media. If your job duties include broadcasting, you may need to capture videos or sound bites as part of your report. No matter what medium you are reporting for, you'll need to determine the focus of your story, interview stakeholders and meet deadlines. Readers want news on a constant basis and you may be forced to work long or irregular hours in order to meet the stringent deadlines of the job.

Job duties can vary depending on the size and area in which you work. In a small market, it's likely that you will cover a range of topics in addition to local, state and national education matters. You may also work on layouts and administrative tasks. If you work in a large city or for a major publication, your stories and responsibilities will be more specific.

Job Growth and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job growth for reporters in all fields to decline at a moderate rate of about 13%, from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). This is due to the dip in newspaper readership, reduction of advertising revenue and consolidation of many news companies.

The median yearly salary for reporters in all fields was about $36,000 in May 2014, according to the BLS. Those working in newspaper and print publication earned about $40,810 yearly, while reporters working in radio and tv broadcasting earned close to $49,640 per year, on average.

Career Skills and Requirements

Education reporters are generally required to have a bachelor's degree. Major areas of study include journalism and communications. You'll want to take courses in broadcast and production if you plan to work for radio or television. Coursework in writing, computer software and education is also valuable.

Employers also seek candidates with experience in the field. Working for your high school or college newspaper, obtaining an internship or working as an assistant to a journalist can help your job prospects.

What Employers Are Looking for

Employers expect education reporters to be strong writers, have a nose for news and be willing to work aggressively to cover their beat. However, each job has slightly different qualifications. The following is a sampling of job postings open during March 2012 from the Education Writers Association (EWA) and JournalismJobs.com.

  • An Atlanta publication is seeking an education reporter who is adept at covering school spending and issues concerning testing and performance evaluations. Their ideal candidate will have experience in covering school or government issues, work in both print and for the Web and be able to provide photos for stories.
  • A media company in Minnesota has an opening for an education reporter to cover a large school district in the Twin Cities metropolitan area for their print and digital outlets. Applicants must have at least five years of reporting experience, be well-versed in digital media, including Twitter, and able to work on breaking news and investigative stories.
  • In New Mexico, a weekly newspaper is seeking an education reporter to cover exciting developments in their local school district. Candidates must aggressively pursue stories and advocate for open meetings and records.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Many reporters get their start by working as freelancers. Freelance work allows you to make contacts in the industry and cover a variety of subjects. If you focus your freelance stories on education, you can create a portfolio that will demonstrate relevant knowledge to employers.

You can also use your undergraduate coursework to stand out. By taking courses in education, in addition to journalism and communication, you will establish your specialization early on. Many schools offer majors in elementary and secondary education. You may choose to combine one of these majors with journalism for a double major, or fill your elective hours with education coursework.

Develop Related Skills

The field of journalism is quickly evolving and reporters must understand and utilize social media and Web outlets to reach their readers. While it is imperative that you be a strong writer and communicator, you can also benefit from developing related online media skills. Employers look for candidates who feel comfortable working with social media outlets, including Facebook and Twitter. You may also be asked to shoot video or audio for the Web in addition to producing footage for broadcast, or articles for print. To be successful, you'll need to understand the varying requirements of creating Web content.

Alternative Fields

Education

If you find yourself interested in education, you may want to consider a career as a teacher or school administrator. Teachers facilitate classroom learning by presenting curriculum to students. To work in this position, you must earn a bachelor's degree and obtain a license through your state. Positions in school administration generally require experience teaching and a master's or doctorate degree. Work in this field includes day-to-day management of schools and other educational facilities, staff oversight and policy development.

Television Broadcaster

You may also consider work as a television broadcaster. Careers in this field include local and cable news programs, talk shows and entertainment. You may work as a broadcast news analyst, also known as an anchor, covering sports, weather, news or a variety of topics. While you won't have the tight deadlines of a reporter, you may still be required to work irregular hours. To enter this career, you'll most likely be required to have a college degree in journalism, communications or broadcast arts.

Writer or Editor

If print reporting draws your attention, you may choose to work as a writer or editor. You may write books, articles for magazines or online sources, technical manuals, or be employed in advertising or marketing as a writer. Editors review and revise the work of work of writers. They also assign topics. You may work freelance jobs or be employed by a publication. Education and earnings vary depending on your position.

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    2. Purdue University

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    3. Grand Canyon University

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Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - New Media Journalism
  • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • BS - Media Communications (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication
  • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Journalism
  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations

What is your highest level of education completed?

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Master of Arts in Communication - General
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided

What is your highest level of education completed?