Difference Between Reporter and Journalist

Reporter vs Journalist

When we see news on TV, we come across persons who present news, views and opinions about an incident or an event. These people are referred to as reporters. But if you happen to watch a current affairs program where there is a panel discussing an incident or any social issue, you will find that the main anchor introduces panelists as journalists and reporters. This is confusing as people cannot make out the distinction between a reporter and a journalist. Often times, people use these terms interchangeably which is also a wrong practice. This article will attempt to highlight the differences between a reporter and a journalist based upon their functions and roles.

Journalism is a broader term that includes all those who are involved in this field whether as an editor, a reporter, anchor, photographers, page designers, graphic artists and so on. Before the advent of electronic media, there was no difference between a journalist and a reporter as most of the functions that a reporter engages in today were performed by a journalist. Today, because of television, there has been a tendency to differentiate between a journalist who writes and gathers information in print media and a reporter who does all similar jobs but also appears on TV reporting the incidents.

The work carried on by journalists is termed as journalism and there are institutes conducting courses in journalism, but has anyone heard of an institute conducting courses in reporting? This is because reporting is a part, a subset of journalism and not a separate entity. Reporters are thus a particular type of journalist who gather facts and information and also report it on TV and radio. There is another category of columnists who are also journalists that write informative pieces and their columns appear in newspapers regularly.

Another notable difference between a journalist and a reporter lies in their qualifications. While anyone can become a reporter (in fact these days the trend is to give such jobs to people who are attractive and can engage the audiences for a longer time), a journalist needs certain qualification from mass media institutes.

In simple words, reporters are more concerned with who, what, where and when. On the other hand, journalists are more concerned with how and why of any incident or an event.

In brief:

Reporter vs Journalist

• Journalism is a broad area of study of which reporting is just a small part

• A journalist can be a reporter while a reporter need not always be a journalist

• A journalist gathers information, analyzes and writes whereas a reporter presents all this in electronic media and print media

• A reporter is the person who talks on TV and radio and needs a presentable personality whereas a journalist is often behind the scenes.