Reporting is usually distinguished from similar work, such as writing in general, by news judgment (determining newsworthiness) and journalism values (such as objectivity).
Reporters get their information in a variety of ways, including tips, press releases, and witnessing an event. They perform research through interviews, public records and other sources. The information-gathering part of the job is sometimes called "reporting" as distinct from the production part of the job, such as writing articles.
Most reporters are assigned an area to focus on, called a "beat". They are encouraged to "cultivate sources" so they won't miss news.
Reporters usually have a college degree. The degree is often in journalism, but that is not required. When hiring reporters, editors give much weight to the reporter's previous work, (such as newspaper "clips") even when written for a student newspaper or as part of an internship.
One common misconception is that newspaper reporters write the headlines for their articles, but those are written by copy editors.
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