Reporter (Journalist) Interview Questions and Answers

News. We want them now, and we want them to be brief. We desire to be amazed, moved, shocked, or at the very least, annoyed. And we can never have enough. Since the turn of the century, the journalist’s profession has significantly changed. Formal investigation and imaginative writing have been replaced by research and recounting. At least in part. In quality journalism, however, not much has changed regarding interview questions.

Regarding the hiring process, the importance of your portfolio and business references cannot be overstated. Poor answers can jeopardize your application, even though the questions are secondary. Let’s have a look at some common questions. In brackets, you’ll find an answer hint for each question.

Reporter (Journalist) Interview Questions and Answers

Standard interview questions for journalists

  • Why would you like to work for our publication? Please do your research on the authors and the topics they cover. Determine what resonates with you and why you would be a great reporter for them. Make it clear that they are your preferred option.
  • What subjects would you like to discuss? Take your time. Once you begin, they will not allow you to cover the major topics. Say that you are willing to work in any department, eager to learn, and confident in your ability to produce excellent content for any division of their news/channel.
  • If there was one thing you could change about our newspaper, what would it be? Be truthful, but do not interfere with their core business. If they are pleased with their international news section or interviews, do not suggest any changes. Concentrate on something secondary, ideally something you can actually improve.
  • Which applications do you use in your work? Instead of simply listing software packages and tools, explain how long you’ve worked with each one and how it has improved your productivity.
  • How do you envision yourself in five years? Tell them you enjoy your job and have no plans to change careers. Try to persuade them that you are in it for the long haul and that you intend to continue learning and developing as a reporter for many years to come.
  • How frequently do you employ social media? What websites do you frequent the most? Before the interview, confirm their social media strategy. Are they active on Instagram? How usually? What types of articles do they publish/promote on Facebook? What objectives do they pursue? After understanding their social media strategy, you should be able to respond to this interview question.
  • Describe a time when you were under work-related pressure.
  • Why should we hire you instead of one of the numerous other candidates who have applied for this position?

Does a degree matter anymore?

Previously, you needed a degree in journalism or mass communication to have any chance of entering the news industry. And you must have completed two internships, have excellent references, and have at least some experience editing the school newspaper. Now you only need to demonstrate your ability to locate news and present it in your voice, which is compelling for the target audience. Welcome to the 21st century’s news industry!Ü

True journalism vs. 21st-century journalism

Please do not misunderstand me; I am not claiming that genuine journalism is extinct or that you should not apply for this profession. I want to point out that the game has changed, as have reporter salaries and the standard interview process for this position.

There is a significant difference between honest reporters and story re-tellers in terms of salary ($20,000 to $80,000 annually) and the hiring process. Let’s examine what will occur if you apply for a primarily online news portal position.

Applying for a reporter position at an online news website

Online news portals excel at monitoring celebrities’ social media accounts, following the world’s largest news channels, and republishing the news of others in their own words. A more prestigious term for this is “content curation.”

  • When applying for a job with them, you will primarily need to demonstrate the following abilities:
  • Capability to compose a story from scratch (based on a tweet or other short form of communication).
  • Capacity to locate the appropriate locations on the Internet and utilize the most prominent international news channels while attempting to catch the most recent news.
  • Capability to tell a compelling story in one’s voice for a local audience.
  • Strong language skills, not only in your native tongue but also in several other languages, so that you can rewrite (curate) and publish as your own the stories written in other languages.
  • Ability to work with the website’s online publishing platform or content management system or the ability to learn how to do so.

When applying for this type of “journalist” position, you won’t face many challenging questions. However, they will frequently ask you to demonstrate your abilities directly through a practical exercise. They will present you with a brief news article, a celebrity’s Facebook account, or anything else and ask you to write a story in your own voice.

This is an excellent way to determine how quickly you can write, whether you have a good writing style and whether you can perform the duties of this position. In addition, they may ask you some elementary questions, such as:

Applying for a genuine journalist position (in the newspaper, television, etc.)

When applying for a real reporter position, everything changes. Before writing your story, you must travel to different locations, conduct interviews, investigate events, and delve deeply to find information. No longer do we discuss (re)telling stories. We discuss writing and news production.

Degree and references are essential; if you lack them, create them.

The first thing they will consider is your previous accomplishments. Have any published? Did you previously write anything? Did you edit the school’s publication? Can a member of your industry provide a recommendation for you?

All of these can be highlighted in your work portfolio. Demonstrate to the interviewers that you did not wait for school to end before attempting to break into the news industry.

Create something if you have nothing to support your application.

It takes less than an hour to create a website in the current online environment. Create something original and engaging to read. It could be a collection of poems or an essay on one of the most popular topics. Demonstrate your ability to write and express yourself.

Practical exam during the interview

The chief editors (or anyone else who will interview with you) may administer a simple test to evaluate your skills. They will provide you with a news story (typically one from their publication) and ask you to improve it. Or they may ask you to find errors (which they made on purpose).

Additionally, they can request that you cover a specific topic (the task can be assigned before the interview), and you will present your coverage when you meet with them.

Attempt your very best on the practical examination. Approach it responsibly and attempt to keep your story consistent with how the newspaper (radio, television) covers similar stories. Please demonstrate that you comprehend their audience and are prepared to create content that will be devoured. In terms of interview questions, you can anticipate being asked the ones outlined at the beginning of this article.

Conclusion and moving forward

The career of a journalist is highly diverse. There are jobs ranging from simple, routine, and passive to extremely complex and even thrilling. Journalists in the United States earn between $20,000 and $100,000 annually. Furthermore, if you bring five individuals with the same job title (Journalist) into a room and ask them to describe a typical workday, you will receive five completely different responses.

  • This diversity is also reflected in the hiring procedure. However, certain success principles can be applied to every journalist interview.
  • Demonstrate your capabilities by providing examples of your actual work.
  • Rely on references from former employers, editors, teachers, and peers in the industry.
  • Learn as much as possible about the publication, its work, strategy, vision, and business model, and keep this information in mind as you respond to the interview questions.
  • Demonstrate motivation, enthusiasm, and comprehension of the objectives of their work.
  • When beginning a professional career, you should not aim for the best available position. Grab whatever is available, any job that allows you to work as a reporter, and start writing some stories. Once you have established your initial references, the job search will become much more straightforward. Do not attempt to capture an elephant immediately after graduating from college…

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at

Leave a Comment