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Career and Education Opportunities for Reporters in Billings, Montana

There are many career and education opportunities for reporters in the Billings, Montana area. There are currently 220 working reporters in Montana; this should grow 9% to 240 working reporters in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for reporters, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 7.6% over the next eight years. In general, reporters collect and analyze facts about newsworthy events by interview, investigation, or observation.

Reporters earn about $13 hourly or $28,110 annually on average in Montana and about $16 hourly or $34,850 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Journalism, people working as reporters in Montana earn the same. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Journalism nationally. People working as reporters can fill a number of jobs, such as: travel writer, market reporter, and staff writer.

The Billings area is home to four schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Billings where you can get a degree as a reporter. The most common level of education for reporters is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a reporter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Reporter

Reporter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, reporters collect and analyze facts about newsworthy events by interview, investigation, or observation. They also report and write stories for newspaper, news magazine, or television.

Reporters inspect and evaluate notes taken about event aspects so as to isolate pertinent facts and details. They also decide on a story's emphasis and format, and organize material accordingly. Equally important, reporters have to arrange interviews with people who can furnish data related to a particular story. They are often called upon to research and analyze background data pertaining to stories so as to be able to furnish complete and accurate data. They are expected to check reference materials such as books and public records so as to obtain relevant facts. Finally, reporters inspect copy and correct errors in content and punctuation, following prescribed editorial style and formatting guidelines.

Every day, reporters are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment. It is also important that they speak clearly.

It is important for reporters to photograph or videotape news events, or request that a photographer be assigned to furnish such coverage. They are often called upon to design concepts and material for columns or commentaries by analyzing and interpreting news, current issues, and personal experiences. They also transmit news stories or reporting data from remote locations, using equipment such as satellite phones or modems. They are sometimes expected to write columns or reviews that interpret events or offer opinions. Somewhat less frequently, reporters are also expected to decide on a story's emphasis and format, and organize material accordingly.

Reporters sometimes are asked to consider issues with editors in order to determine priorities and positions. They also have to be able to conduct taped or filmed interviews or narratives and present live or recorded commentary via broadcast media. And finally, they sometimes have to research and analyze background data pertaining to stories so as to be able to furnish complete and accurate data.

Like many other jobs, reporters must be thorough and dependable and want to innovate to meet new challenges.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Billings include:

  • Editorial Specialist. Perform variety of editorial duties, such as laying out, indexing, and revising content of written materials, in preparation for final publication.
  • Public Address Announcer. Make announcements over loud speaker at sporting or other public events. May act as master of ceremonies or disc jockey at weddings, parties, or other gathering places.
  • Technical Writer. Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.
  • Writer. Create original written works.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Reporter Training

Montana State University-Billings - Billings, MT

Montana State University-Billings, 1500 University Drive, Billings, MT 59101-0298. Montana State University-Billings is a small university located in Billings, Montana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,598 students and an admission rate of 100%. Montana State University-Billings has a bachelor's degree program in Mass Communication/Media Studies which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Forensic Interviewer: The objective of this certification program is to create comprehensive, universally accepted professional standards combined with an objective measure of an interviewer's knowledge of those standards.

For more information, see the Center for Interviewer Standards and Assessment Ltd. website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Billings, Montana

Billings, Montana
Billings, Montana photo by Pruhter

Billings is situated in Yellowstone County, Montana. It has a population of over 103,994, which has grown by 15.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Billings, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Billings are valued at $132,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred nineteen new homes were built in Billings, down from six hundred four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Billings are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 28.5% of Billings residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Billings is 4.4%, which is less than Montana's average of 5.8%.

The percentage of Billings residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Billings is home to the Twin Pines Ranch and the Hilands Golf Club as well as Cobb Field and Pioneer Park. Visitors to Billings can choose from Western Executive Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Big 5 Motel for temporary stays in the area.