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Answered 2010-09-20 01:40:52

It is not very hard to become a reporter - you just need excellent written and verbal communication skills. A degree helps, but in my experience is not necessary as long as you can type up an interesting, true account of the news, and are willing to do the work.

If you want to become a reporter, I would suggest attending events and talking to a few reporters in your area - ask them how they started, what they usually cover, and get an idea about what they do. You can pick them out pretty easily - they're the ones that are constantly scribbling in their notebooks. Wait until the event is over though, so you don't make them miss anything important.

Do you have any writing experience? If so, put together a portfolio of your work and send it into a few local newspapers in your area. Make sure you follow up with them - in my experience, a lot of them simply forget to call back. Things get busy in a newsroom, especially around deadline.

If you don't have any experience, practice. Attend an event and write up a story - get the who, what, when, where, and why - and don't forget the how - and fiddle with your story until you feel it is the best account of what happened. Study other people's work (but don't plagiarize!) and see what makes up an interesting story. Don't be afraid to talk to people and ask questions - you may ask the wrong question and piss someone off, but everything and anything is a learning experience, so try not to take it personally. Take a few writing classes if you can, and throw in an ethics class for good measure. Photography classes are fun, and a few local papers require a reporter to take their own pictures, so knowledge of that area is a bonus.

Be prepared to start at the bottom, especially if you have no prior experience. A lot of local publications hire freelancers - you can get your start there.

Also, be prepared for long hours and working weekends. The news doesn't just happen between 9 and 5, Monday through Friday.

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