Hello, my name is Sara, I am a technical reporter and instructor subcontracted to a government agency. I have been in this role since 1999, where I perform a variety of tasks, but primarily, I am responsible for gathering information on a situation or an event, and reporting, or writing about it in a journalistic style. The information I receive is extremely sensitive, so it won’t be discussed here, but it is always used to prepare and protect our country and citizens.
A reporter in this field must be a confident writer who is flexible and dynamic enough to add on yet another set of writing guidelines beyond APA and MLA. We have our own style guides, policies and procedures that must be adhered to and applied to each report. As a senior reporter, I not only train new reporters to the field, which mainly includes new hire college graduates, and junior military personnel. We currently have three courses that we offer to prepare learners for their future roles as reporters, and I have been teaching and updating those classes for over seven years. The main class, the Reporting Bootcamp, ran for two weeks at a time, and was extremely demanding. we had anywhere between 10 and 40 learners in the class, depending on available classroom space and instructor availability.
I am also the main editor for my team, and often assist other teams with their editing needs. Editing for this style of writing can be challenging as this is not a place for creative writing, and lengthy, eye-catching titles, but rather I look for a very straight-forward, clear, concise, well-organized report. I want the writer to demonstrate that they have the ability to extract the bottom line of the information and that they can clearly state that bottom line in the title and the lead sentence or paragraph. The report must also be organized in one of the manners, inverted pyramid, chronological or multiple inverted pyramids if there are several, equally important things occurring in the report.
Another responsibility I have to ensure we are in compliance with various federal laws, rules and regulations when it comes to what information can be shared with our customers and what cannot be. In this role, there is a lot of research, collaboration and brainstorming that takes place. You can imagine that a journalist has the freedom to write about anything they desire, however, we cannot. We must protect citizens, partners, businesses, personal information and so much more. So it is not uncommon to spend three to four hours on the phone or digging through guidance and policy to find out if you can include one small, but likely very important, piece of information in a report.
In this role: I am a leader, mentor, coordinator, teacher, editor, and creator of content.