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Tagalong Reporter

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"Listen, I can do a lot for you, what you’re tryin’ to do. I get the big scoop, you make a big splash, get some support. What do you say?"
Scoop to Elliot Ness, The Untouchables (1987)

An Intrepid Reporter or other type of storyteller is looking for something sensational. He overhears a conversation, or bumps into the heroes, and decides to join them, either to tell their adventures or to use them as his bodyguards to learn more about the Big Bad, the Artifact of Doom or The Conspiracy.

A subtrope of the more general Tagalong Chronicler. He or she will usually do little to no fighting, simply staying behind and filming / taking notes / commenting on the fights. They can also develop into a more active role as a Sidekick or even a Deuteragonist. These characters often turn out to be Narrator All Along.

Not to be confused with a reporter in the Philippines bringing the news in Tagalog.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Okamura from Blood+ follows the main characters all around the world.
  • Diethard joins the Black Knights from Code Geass solely because he finds Lelouch interesting.
  • In Monster, Grimmer joins up with Dr. Tenma in order to figure out what was going on at the Red Rose Mansion—while he is a traveling freelance journalist, his actions are for personal reasons as he was part of Bonaparta's child experimentation going on there.
  • The anime adaptation of Toriko adds a news reporter called Tina. Her main role being to serve as the host in the end of show segments.
  • Pokémon:
    • Alexa in the Decolora Islands arc of Pokémon the Series: Black & White. Although she always seems to have to go do something and, in some episodes, misses most of the story. Ironically, she still tags with Ash long after he parts ways with Iris and Cilan, accompanying him to his journey to the Kalos region at the start of Pokémon the Series: XY.
    • When Todd, the photographer PC from Pokémon Snap, appears in other media, he becomes this to the protagonists. He's appeared in the anime seeking to photograph rare Pokémon, and as a reporter in the Emerald arc of Pokémon Adventures.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Deconstructed with Cassie Arnold, who tags along with White Magician and gets to be the first reporter at incidents he takes care of because he keeps her in the loop. The problem is she's reporting what White Magician tells her to in order to control public opinion on him and most of it is lies to make his murders look like acts of heroism.

    Fan Works 
  • Godzilla fanfiction Abraxas: Steve Martin (a Mythology Gag to that Steve Martin) first appears being apprehended by Monarch security for trespassing while trying to get a scoop on Thor and Monster X. He remains at Outpost 61a with most of the human heroes for most of the fic, he gains their permission to officially accompany them as an authorized journalist for an up-close meeting with Monster X, and he uses his contacts to try and get tracking help for the heroes after MaNi/Elder Brother goes after Monster X.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. The President of Earth forces Captain Proton to take Buster Kincaid of the Interplanetary Telepress with him during his investigation, so the Space Rangers will get some positive publicity after Buster photographed Proton in an embarrassing position with a household robot.

  • Big Trouble in Little China. Gracie Law tries to get aspiring Intrepid Reporter Margo Litzenberger to write a story about David Lo Pan's criminal activities. The reporter goes along with the group in the attempt to free Miao Yin from the White Tiger brothel.
    Margo: God, it's creepy. Do we have to go in? Because I will, if we have to. I'll go anywhere or do anything to get my story. It's my big break.
  • Five Weeks in a Balloon (inspired by the Jules Verne novel). The crew includes Donald O'Shea (Red Buttons), who is sent along to write about the expedition and act as an impartial witness if they succeed in beating the slavers to the unclaimed territory.
  • In the 1938 Flash Gordon (serial) Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars, reporter Happy Hapgood is an accidental version of this trope.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Intrepid Reporter Polly Perkins insists on going along with the title character in search of whoever's behind the giant robot attacks. Sky Captain really doesn't want this, because she's an old flame that he's convinced sabotaged his aircraft while Going for the Big Scoop (and possibly because she was jealous of another lover). Much Belligerent Sexual Tension ensues.
  • In The Great Race, Maggie DuBois sets out to be a tagalong reporter, but when neither Professor Fate nor The Great Leslie will take her with them, she enters her own car in the race. Ends up being a tagalong reporter through most of the race anyway, with one group or the other, when her car breaks down.
  • In The Green Berets John Wayne takes a wimpy liberal pacifist reporter along to prove how awesome the Berets are and the importance of fighting (and winning) The Vietnam War.
  • The Killing Box: The Union patrol and their Confederate prisoner are accompanied by a clumsy civilian photographer.
  • Mason Weaver in Kong: Skull Island maneuvers her way onto the expedition and is in fact the only person there who wasn't specifically invited.
  • Joe Galloway in We Were Soldiers, who we first see downing his drink before he hitches a ride on a helicopter headed for the battlefield. He spends the rest of the film taking photos of the fighting and trying to stay alive.
  • The Thing from Another World: In the opening scene Ned Scott, a journalist meets the Air Force protagonist and decides to do a story about the "downed aircraft". Later on it becomes something of a Running Gag that amidst the in-fighting over what to do about "The Thing" (protect the world by destroying it or try to communicate with and understand it) he just wants to get a photo of the monster (and repeatedly joins several armed searches for the Thing solely for this purpose). He does still get to say the memorable final words of the film, though.
  • Das Boot: Lt. Werner is on U-96 as a war correspondent for the express purpose of chronicling the crew's exploits.
  • Joker from Full Metal Jacket is this to the Lusthog Squad.
  • This ends badly in Year of the Dragon (1985). Tracy Tzu is talked into covering Stanley White's crackdown on the Triads, gets increasingly drawn into his investigation (at one stage he's using her apartment as Mission Control, much to her annoyance) only to get gang-raped by three men sent by the Big Bad to scare her off.
  • In the 1960 Italian sci-fi Space-Men (a.k.a. Assignment: Outer Space), The Narrator is a reporter who is nicknamed 'leech' by the astronauts because he's like a parasite—using up air and food but not fulfilling any function on the space station.
  • In the documentary 9/11, Jules Naudet (a French filmmaker) is present on an quiet morning with a New York City Fire Department branch (Battalion 1), as part of an otherwise-routine documentary about the life of firefighters, when he manages to film one of the few known pieces of footage showing American Airlines Flight 11 hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. From there, he accompanies the Battalion to the North Tower, being allowed the Battalion Chief, Joseph Pfeiffer, to accompany him inside and film the on-the-ground reaction at the scene. What he captures is the only known footage inside both towers, and is present at the point where the South Tower collapses (forcing those at the Command Post set up on the ground floor to run into a nearby escalator path to avoid the debris, along with filming the department's regrouping outside the North Tower and their subsequent run when that tower begins to collapse.

  • The sci-fi novel Embedded puts an interesting twist on this trope, as the reporter in question is not physically present in the hostile area, but tagging along via Brain Uploading.
  • Edward Malone in The Lost World (1912).
  • In Michael Connelly novels Jack McEvoy is this, becoming involved in FBI investigations of serial killers in The Poet and The Scarecrow. Partially this is due to his relationship with FBI agent Rachael Walling. Minus the relationship, there is an element of truth to this as Connelly himself was a former reporter working the crime beat.
  • David Drake's Rolling Hot starts with a reporter interviewing an officer of Hammer's Slammers, thinking he can expose the government's waste of money on foreign mercenaries. Then insurgents attack, his cameraman is killed, and he picks up a grenade launcher.
  • Murder for the Modern Girl: After her initial encounter with Ruby at a party, news reporter Vivian Forbes often pops up to assist her and her friends, giving them what she knows about important details such as the corruption going in Chicago and what the people behind said corruption is capable of.
  • The Nameless War's Jeff Harlow, our man at the front, is an intrepid reporter hoping to get a scoop that will make him a household name but not actually kill him.
  • In The Last Days of New Paris, Sam, who wants to document the bizarre events and living art of New Paris, attaches herself to Thibaut the surrealist artist who lives — and fights Nazis — in New Paris.

    Live-Action TV 
  • It's easy to forget that The A-Team had one of these. Amy (Melinda Culea) was featured prominently in the pilot and continued as a regular, but as the show entered production it turned out this resourceful crew had little need for her. Both Culea and series lead George Peppard were reportedly unhappy with how her role played out in the first season—Culea pushed for more lines and more involvement in the team's operations and fights, and Peppard was convinced the show didn't need a female lead at all. She was abruptly written out partway through season 2. Nonetheless the character was replaced by another tagalong reporter, Tawnia (Marla Heasley), this time as a recurring character; but there was even less for her to do, though at least she got a proper goodbye episode.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street:
    • Brodie starts out as a TV news intern and ends up being a "crime scene recorder", getting videotape of crime scenes and the crowds around them.
    • Series creator David Simon was himself a Tagalong Reporter. He took a year off from writing for the Baltimore Sun and spent it embedded with the Baltimore P.D. Homicide Unit. This became the non-fiction book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Many of the show's early stories were adaptations of real cases from this period.
  • Quantum Leap: Sam leaps into a member of his brother's Navy SEAL squad in Vietnam, and there's a female photojournalist embedded with them. Sam has to make a choice between saving her or his brother.
  • Jake Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stays on the station as a combat reporter on the Dominion War when the rest of the Federation citizens had evacuated. Since his father is one of the leaders of the anti-Dominion forces, it's pretty clear where his sympathies lie.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Stephano, an interviewer for IWA Puerto Rico and The World Wrestling League, often goes out of his way to get stories about wrestlers, including following them around outside of the arena doing their daily routines. He can back up those who he forms friendships with in a fight too, if he has to.

    Real Life 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Shadowrun supplement Shadowbeat mentions this as a way of including a Reporter character on a shadow team's missions, as either a PC or NPC. One of the short stories has a video reporter tagging along on a mission to bring badly needed medical supplies to an underground group that's suffering from disease.

    Video Games 
  • Albert Genette, The Narrator of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, follows the Wardog Squadron even after they are branded as traitors and officially killed during their escape (Genette "killed" along with them). Kinda ironic how he made the Wardogs famous with his articles, yet was denied the right to report the final, most important missions they flew as the Ghosts of Razgriz.
  • Frederick Lancaster winds up working for the Canyon Crows in Front Mission after interrupting one of their missions looking for a scoop. Unusually for this trope, you have the option of putting him on the front line and making him fight alongside your other soldiers, since Front Mission is a Humongous Mecha game.
  • Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers has a tagalong reporter for at least the first mission.
  • Guild Wars has this is the form of Shing Jea Sherman who follows the player and his/her party and other players and spouts out random quotes mostly concerning of the various titles and achievements. Even his main dialogue window exemplifies this trope, "I'm working on a new piece for the Monastery Gazette. A sexy exposé on all things adventurous. I can tell by your smell that you're on a mission...or out of soap. How I would love to follow you on your exploits. Watch you destroy your enemies with ruthless impunity; witness how you scrub those tough-to-clean blood stains off your armor. Allow me the privilege to tag along and observe, would you?"
  • In Illbleed, Jorg Baker is a newspaper investigator who came to cover the titular theme park but gets caught up in Chapter 5's events. He quickly realizes that he's in over his head and simply follows the player character through the chapter as a detective. Afterwards, he becomes a playable character too.
  • In Manhunt, a journalist accompanies you during an Escort Mission. After you lead her safely to her apartment, she promises to break the story about your treatment at the hands of Big Bad Starkweather.
  • Kylie Koopa in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.
  • Diana Allers in Mass Effect 3, who is considered a War Asset if allowed to tag along on the Normandy and report on its crew's battles. Justified in her case in that she is member of a military-sanctioned news network and actually requests permission to join Shepard.
  • Suikoden V: Taylor is a reporter who can be receuited for Frey's army. You'll first find him questioning the guards outside (note: your castle must be lvl. 2 or higher for this event). He'll then ask to use different areas of of the castle for interviews, agree each time (four in all) and he'll join you. From then on he chronicles the war against the Godwins. You can even read each issue (they're posted in the restaurant area) at your leisure.
  • Carley in The Walking Dead video game. She is also an Action Girl who learned how to shoot while an embedded reporter.
  • Ms. Ellet, the war correspondent that befriends Squad 7 in Valkyria Chronicles.
  • Happened in one Sky Dancers episode. In a bit of playing the trope for drama, the reporter's insistence on interviews meant the Sky Dancers arrived too late to help people being menaced by Skyclone.
  • Project × Zone has Ulala show up in one level (titled "Ulala's Swingin' Report Show", appropriately enough), only to then force herself into your party once she sees how many celebrities are in it. Thankfully, she can actually fight pretty well, as fans of her own series can attest.
  • Elena Fisher of the Uncharted series. In the first game, she was originally hired by Nathan Drake to do a piece of his discovery of Sir Francis Drake’s coffin. After he and Sully conned her and left her behind to find El Dorado, she tracks them down by herself and gets tackled along in their misadventures. It happens again in the second game, where she’s on an undercover mission to spy on the war criminal Zoran Lazarevic, who’s looking for clues and artifacts that will lead him to Shambala. This leads to her again crossing path with Nathan Drake who’s trying to stop him. After that, she basically becomes one of the main characters for the rest of the series.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Ban forms the second set of Akira's companions alongside Rosé Mulan, helping him investigate spirits with his journalism skills.

    Web Comics 
  • Roger Evers in Genocide Man is a blogger for "Undercentral News" who started following Jacob Doe around in an attempt to film a documentary. Unfortunately that makes him almost as big a target as Jacob himself, especially after his editor hacked some drones that were attempting to kill them.

    Western Animation