A reporter is expected to produce well written and visual stories often in less than a day. Tight deadlines often put much stress on reporters, and the hiring manager wants to see if the candidate is able to put up with the high stress career. A good response discusses the candidate's ability to produce good work while rushed or under pressure.
"I understand what it takes to create a story in just a few hours and still have it be my best work possible. I have experience writing clean work quickly with little to no mistakes for editors to check over, and I often enjoy the rush of being put under pressure to create my stories."
A successful reporter not only finds the right people to talk to for a story, but also keeps a working relationship with the person or group so they may be able to reference them in the future. The candidate should discuss with the hiring manager how they stay in touch with contacts they have used and how they plan to make his or herself a trustworthy person for that contact to want to help again.
"I know how important it is to create working relationships with good contacts in the area. I have experience working well alongside police officers, and I know at your station I will be able to keep in touch with police officers well and be sure to keep their information quiet until they allow us to release it so we may build up trust with them."
A successful reporter is able to talk to anyone about any topic and gather information. A reporter must have an approachable personality so that they can approach anyone, whether someone is happy to talk about their story, or does not want to talk about an emotional one. A good response explains the candidate's personality and how they plan to talk to strangers in various situations and gain the insight and information they need to cover the story.
"I consider myself a friendly person who always approaches others with a smile, or with a gentle voice. I consider myself open, so others feel comfortable sharing their story with me, even in times of despair."
A successful reporter is well organized and is able to juggle various types of stories and contacts from many different fields. The reporter should respond by discussing what organizational skills they possess and how their skills will help them be a good fit for the job.
"I am a very organized person who keeps folders of all my story ideas, and contacts. I keep my job organized in this way so I am always able to access phone numbers, addresses, and previous notes on a story quickly, so I can be sure to make deadline for the day."
A hiring manager is looking for a candidate who is able to report on often sad or emotional stories with a level head. The candidate must show they are able of reporting on difficult stories by making good ethical decisions. A good response would be to give examples of previous difficult stories and how the candidate has dealt with covering it, despite the tragedy or emotions involved with it.
"No matter the emotional aspect of the story I report on, I am able to keep my professional work separate from my personal emotions. While I have covered many stories where parents have lost young children in a tragic event, I must report the story fairly and accurately, and must keep my own emotions separate so I can give the story the time and justice it deserves."
The candidate may respond by describing their writing style and how it fits well into the job description. A successful response provides examples of how the candidate's writing has been strong in the past, and how the style would fit well in the current job.
"I describe my writing as descriptive and colorful. My writing has been successful in the past because I have had many people approach me in my previous job telling me how interesting and fun my writing was, and I believe I can use the same colorful and visual writing in this job to bring the words to life and attract new readers."
The candidate should respond to the question by discussing past experience working with a photographer capturing photos and video alongside the reporter during the daily workflow. A successful reporter knows how to work well with a team to create a both visual and well written story, and should demonstrate their knowledge of photography and how they can help direct a photographer to the parts of the story they want most photographed.
"I have experience working with a photographer, and I enjoy working alongside someone else to capture my story best. While my writing often speaks for itself, I like having the second opinion of a photographer to add a visual aspect to big stories, and together our work provides a great piece that viewers will learn a lot from."
A reporter works with producers, photographers, editors, engineers, and more every day at work. The candidate should discuss with the hiring manager their previous experience working with a large team on a daily basis, and how they will be a functioning part of the daily work flow at the office. The candidate may respond by giving examples of how they have worked with others in the past and how they plan to work well with a team in the future.
"In college, I worked with a small team of other students to produce our newspaper. We each had a specific role we had to complete on time, and relied on each other do to it to the best of our ability. I often got my work done early, and even helped others complete theirs, so our newspaper editions would get out on the shelves in time."
The candidate must demonstrate their extensive knowledge and mastery of social media. A successful reporter knows how to reach out to find stories on social media, as well as informing the public on the most up to date and breaking stories on social media platforms as they happen. The candidate should respond by giving examples of how they have used social media in past reporter jobs and how frequently they plan on posting and updating their sites in the current job.
"I extensively use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to update my viewers. I produce Facebook Lives every shift so the public will be on top of the stories I am covering that day before our nightly newscast. I have gained many followers over the years and they have given me story tips on my social media accounts."
The candidate should discuss with the interviewer what skills they have that make them a good reporter and what motivated them to study and practice to become one. They may discuss people who have influenced them and why they feel they will do a good job based on their writing skills, interviewing experience, and more.
"I wanted to become a reporter because I have always been a curious person. I love learning the most up to date news, and I feel that my writing can help others stay up to do date and accurate as well."
The candidate should show the hiring manager that they have a good understanding of local stories in the current area and have ideas on how to uncover more hidden stories, as well. The candidate can respond by mentioning their favorite places to find story ideas, such as cafes, local restaurants, parks, or talking to their neighbors. A successful reporter feels comfortable being a part of the local community and talking to locals about what matters to them in order to find the most important stories to cover, and a good response shows that the candidate knows what matters to the community.
"My favorite way to find new stories is to sit in a local coffee shop with a newspaper. I can listen to what the locals are talking about and what is buzzing in the community and I can even ask some of them about current topics to see what matters most in the news that week."
The candidate should respond by finding a way to set his or herself apart from the other potential candidates applying for the same position. The candidate should mention specific traits and skills they possess that make them the best possible reporter at the specific station or publication and why it makes them the perfect choice to fill the position.
"While I am sure there are many qualified reporters for this job, I was born and raised in this town, and I know the people and the news here better than anyone else. I know the local language and how to draw in readers because I am a source that they trust."
A good response to this question tells the interviewer that the candidate is passionate about the present job that they are applying for, but also have future aspirations that are achievable through getting this position. The candidate should discuss aspects of the current position as a reporter and certain skills they will learn that will make them an even stronger reporter in the future. If the candidate has other plans besides a reporter in the future, they can discuss what skills they need in the future career aspiration and how this position will strengthen the person to be more fitted for that position later in life.
"This reporter position is exactly what I have always wanted to do in my career. I look forward to developing my reporter skills and getting into the community to make a difference, so that in the future I will be the best reporter on your dayside team."
The candidate can respond well by discussing how this current job would positively affect their career goals. They should discuss their aspirations for the future and how working at this station or publication will help them improve and eventually reach their goals.
"In the future, I hope to settle down with a family in Florida working for a news station. However, I am looking forward to taking a job here to improve my skills and form a strong relationship with the staff because I sense that there is much talent here from which I can learn."
While any person who applies for a reporting job probably possesses similar skills, the interviewer wants to know exactly why the candidate has chosen to be a reporter instead of any other career based around the skills required in reporting. A good response would be for the candidate to explain what skills specific to reporting they possess and why they have chosen this career.
"While my writing is strong and I could have taken any career in writing such as a press release writer, I am a creative writer and able to write passionate stories. Therefore, I am more well suited to creative pieces."
All people move through a career at various paces. The candidate should answer the question honestly and discuss the changes that have taken place over the course of their working career that have lead them to applying for this job. They should be positive about the future within the company as a reporter, even if the past has not been as fluid or quick as they had hoped.
"Honestly, it has taken me a few extra years to progress to a job such as this one, although I have worked extremely hard to get here. Now that I have the opportunity to work in this city as a reporter, I know I will continue to grow as a person in this career."
The candidate can respond by offering a reasonable benefit they would like to receive, other than medical expenses offered by the company. Some benefits reporters may receive include makeup and clothing money, a gym membership, a gas card, or free office supplies. These are benefits that are required for the reporter to do their job, and the hiring manager should be able to negotiate reasonable terms so that the candidate will be more interested in taking the job.
"In my previous job, my company paid for makeup. I would appreciate having this mostly cost covered since this job requires me to be live on television each evening."
The candidate can answer well by providing the interviewer with a range of salaries they feel best fits their skill sets based on prior experience, education, awards, or any other factors. Reporters looking for a job within the first 1-5 years of reporting should expect to make within a range of $20,000-$40,000 based on the television market size of the station or publication they are reporting for. Other experienced reporters can negotiate higher salaries based on their prior experience. Candidates should be open to negotiations with their salary, including taking a lesser salary for moving expenses, or other negotiations.
"Since I have been a reporter for 3 years now, I believe my experience lends itself to a salary between $35,000-$38,000. I would also like to discuss financial help with moving cross-country."
The candidate may use this answer to demonstrate their favorite subject to cover, which usually is also their strongest work. They may tell the interviewer what subject or topic they are most passionate about and why they feel they are so strong at it.
"If I could report on just one subject, it would be politics. I love working in the state house and I have already formed many connections with the politicians there."
The candidate should provide an example of one time they struggled to report a story, either due to the topic, the availability of interviews, or something else. The candidate should discuss why they had such a difficult time reporting and what they did to overcome it. In answering this question, the candidate should prove that they have learned something from the difficult experience and if ever faced with it again, they would know what to do.
"The most difficult story I have covered was when a college student passed away tragically. The school would not let me interview students on campus, and the police would not give me a statement. However, I tracked down his cousin on Twitter and conducted an interview online, which gave me an exclusive aspect to the story that no other paper had."
The candidate should give an example of their favorite story and why it is their favorite. They may discuss how much work they put into it, how difficult it was to interview, or how emotional the story became. An interviewer is looking for a candidate who is passionate about the stories they cover and want to know that they hire someone who will constantly strive to write and report the best stories possible. A candidate should prove their dedication to reporting though this answer.
"My favorite story is when I covered a boy being saved from a burning building. I interviewed the mother who was grateful her son was saved, and I caught the moment of them being reunited on camera. This was the most passionate story I have ever captured and took creative writing to make it just right."
The candidate should respond by mentioning their skill set and how they believe they fit well in the job for which they are applying. A good response wold be to highlight their unique characteristics and skills in their work that make them a successful reporter and how their certain skills will make them a valuable part of the team.
"I believe I am a good fit for this reporting job because I have a unique way of interviewing people and relaying their stories in an emotional way through my writing. This job requires strong interviewing skills and I bring that to the job with me."
A reporter is someone who is responsible for gathering information, interviewing persons of interest, and create a story, either written or in video form, for written or broadcast media. Reporters are responsible for finding stories within their domain, such as a local community, a state, or nationwide, and produce a written or spoken product explaining the most pertinent details of what has happened. Types of reports include breaking news like fires, floods, and robberies; human interest stories such as a family raising money for a local organization; or general information stories, such as reports on an election. A reporter may work for a newspaper, online news gathering site, television station, or may freelance for any of these types of companies. In some cases, a reporter is expected to work with a photographer/photojournalist to put together a visual story.
To prepare for an interview for a career in reporting, the aspiring reporter must first research the location where they are looking to report. They must research important topics and stories from the area, important people in the community, and be familiar with popular locations within that city or state. An aspiring reporter must expect that in an interview, a news director or hiring agent will ask how familiar they are with the area and may quiz them on story ideas they already may have.
To prepare for an interview, an aspiring reporter must dress professionally and prepare to talk clearly and eloquently about their previous experience. News directors and hiring agents will want to know what kinds of stories they have reported on in the past and will want to know how much experience the reporter has in all types of situations, like in breaking news or a story of devastation. They also must be prepared to either send or show the news director examples of their previous work, including either published works, or video reports the reporter has produced in the past.