Newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and wire services employ the majority of political reporters. A small percentage of reporters, news analysts, and correspondents are self-employed, working as freelancers or stringers.
Four major television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX) offer daily news coverage of events of national interest; there are also cable channels (such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News) that provide around-the-clock news information. With bureaus in Washington, D.C., New York, London, and other cities, the networks and cable channels provide job opportunities for many political reporters. These positions are highly competitive, however; most broadcast reporters work in cities all across the country for network affiliates, local cable news channels, or radio news stations.
Experienced political reporters are in demand throughout the country, although large markets employ the highest number of political reporters. Positions are usually advertised in the local newspapers, or on the job lines of broadcast stations. You may have to submit recordings of your work along with a resume; you should also be persistent in getting your work reviewed for consideration. By doing an online search of broadcasting job listings, you're likely to locate a number of Web sites with descriptions of available positions. You can also find positions in this field through your college's career services office.
Political reporters may advance by moving to larger radio or television markets, but competition for such positions is keen. Many highly qualified political reporters apply for these jobs every year.
Within a local TV or radio station, a reporter may eventually move on to another area of broadcasting, such as directing or producing a newscast. Reporters also become anchors, who are better paid and more prominent in the newscast. Many more people are employed in sales, promotion, and planning than are employed in reporting and anchoring.
A select number of political reporters eventually become columnists, correspondents, editorial writers, authors, editors, or top executives. These important and influential positions represent the top of the field, and competition for them is strong.
Tips for Entry
Get an internship. The Fund for American Studies (http://www.dcinternships.org) is a great source for getting a political reporter internship in Washington, D.C. or around the world.
Visit Niche.com, https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-communications/, to see a list of the top colleges for journalism and communications.
Be sure to stay informed about political events by reading a variety of notable publications and watching news shows.
Because competition is keen, practice your interviewing skills with a friend. Make sure you know the answers to typical interview questions.