5 Easy Ways To Conquer
Bureau Reporting

5 Easy Ways To Conquer
Bureau Reporting

Written by Lois Lane
🕒 October 31, 2018

So you want to be a bureau reporter?
Be mindful that it isn’t for the faint at heart.

I took a bureau position at my second news station. Why? Because I wanted a challenge.

The experience definitely proved to be a challenge at times, but what seemed rough to endure at the time made me continually grow as a reporter.

If you’re hoping to land a job as a bureau reporter, but you still have questions on what to expect—no need to look further, I’m going to share 5 easy tips you can follow to conquer bureau reporting.

1. Have Good Time Management Skills.

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Time management skills are essential is in the news industry, and as a bureau reporter, you really have to stay on top of your game.

You are basically your own boss, working as the assignment editor, producer, photographer, editor, and reporter.

Most news stations have their rules for story deadlines in order for your story to hit the air on time. It’s up to you during the day to meet those deadlines by scheduling your interviews at a reasonable time, and taking a mental note of how long you will be out shooting b-roll for your story.

Get to know yourself! Know how long it takes you to write and edit your story. These are all things that factor into time.

It may sound odd, but I would always keep a “running clock” in my head every day. It helped right down to the last moment in order to get my story done, and uploaded, to send back to my station.

2. Stay Organized.

I’m a naturally organized person, which is definitely a plus as a bureau reporter.

Keep a planner handy to write down times you plan to interview someone or for those newsworthy events that you don’t want to forget about.

Create folders in your email. While I was working as a bureau reporter, I created 3 folders in my email. One was for important messages (usually from management) that I did not want to delete.

I created a second one for emails that could be bureau story ideas, and a third folder for emails that could be general story ideas outside of the bureau. Sometimes my news director asked me to travel to the main station to work. On ​those days, the emails that I kept in that particular folder, came in handy.

Also, while it is so easy for us to whip out our phones, and type up notes, I think it’s important to always keep a notepad specifically for story ideas that may pop up in
your head.

Remember, you are the assignment editor, it’s vital that you use different methods to stay on top of what’s happening now and for future stories.

3. Take Full Advantage of Social Media.

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Most bureau reporters are stuck in smaller cities, which can sometimes be hard for finding story ideas. However, social media could alleviate a great bit of that! Find Facebook groups that cater to your area.

I personally created a second Facebook page (not a fan page), but an actual second page that served for work purposes only.

It allowed me to friend people that were the movers and shakers in the community, so I could keep up. It also allowed me to see what was trending locally on everyone’s mind.

For many stories, I could easily send a message, and exchange contact info with specific residents in the community who were affected by something.

4. Communication is Key!

Some stations may have bureau reporters assigned to areas that are at least 45 minutes to an hour away, or maybe even 3 hours away.

While I was “out of sight” from my news director and producers, I still made it a priority to communicate with everyone as needed.

I would call the station every morning with my story ideas for the day. I made sure that I did this at the same time every day, as if I were physically showing up to work in the same building as the rest of my colleagues. It shows that you care about your job, and it also shows that you have a good idea of time management.

I also didn’t want to be forgotten about.

If a story fell through I would immediately call my news director. If my laptop crashed while editing my
story, or if another technical horror happened, I would immediately call producers.

Sometimes, I would wonder if I called too much, but that wasn’t the case, my producers really appreciated it!

5. Don’t Panic!​

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There will be times where your story falls through at the last minute, and you have to find something else at 2 p.m., but don’t panic!

Practice those time management skills and work fast! Stay calm, and watch it all come together.

If breaking news happens in the middle of your current story, don’t panic! Show your news director that you can switch gears without any complaints.

If a technical problem arises, don’t panic! Remember you can only do so much. Be sure to properly communicate everything to your news director, and producers, to cover yourself in the end.

I hope these tips are helpful as you apply for a bureau position, or if you’re about to embark on your new journey in a bureau.
This position will make you a better reporter all-around. You will become a better writer, shooter, and editor. Overall, you will be a powerhouse self-sufficient reporter. It’s a challenge, but you can overcome it! ✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾
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