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A newspaper reporter investigates a subject, performs research and conducts interviews to gather information, then writes a newspaper article on what he or she discovered. The very term reporter suggests that it is someone who tells other people about what is going on or what the reporter knows. Sometimes used synonymously with the word journalist, a newspaper reporter is usually someone who actually performs research and investigation into a subject or story and reports it. There are some exceptions, however, as some newspaper reporters may serve more as columnists who write advice or opinionated editorial pieces rather than researched stories about current events.
Many newspaper reporters will go out and find a story or do further research into something that someone else reported. The basic idea is to discover the truth, especially when there has been an attempt to obfuscate or ignore it, and then to reveal what has been discovered to the wider public audience. On other occasions, the work of a newspaper reporter is not so much involved with uncovering details, but in simply relaying what happens or what is said to a wider audience. This approach is especially true in special coverage such as wartime correspondence or political rallies and debates.
Some newspaper reporters serve more as columnists and editorial writers than investigators out to report the hidden truth. These people are often experts in a specific field or specially qualified to hand out advice on a topic. They are often trusted advisers with a long history of providing advice to the public, either through newspapers, radio, or television. These types of articles can often include letters written by readers asking questions of the reporter or long diatribes decrying the state of public affairs.
Someone will usually have a degree in journalism to become a newspaper reporter, though that is not always mandatory. Such education is usually considered most important for investigative journalists, who often need an educational background in journalism to establish a reputation for themselves. While a reporter may eventually build a name for himself or herself through the work he or she does, a degree can help earn initial trust or respect. A newspaper reporter’s ability to secure a job and work for prestigious newspapers can be directly connected to the journalistic integrity of the reporter. Readers need to be able to trust the people bringing them the news, and when that trust is broken, it can be difficult to repair.