How much does a journalist make? This remains a critical question as many journalists will rarely disclose their earnings. Journalists believe they are fulfilling their purpose in society; finding the truth and impacting people through the power of information. They often believe they are not here to get money, but rather to serve a valuable purpose. However, just like any other profession, a journalist must get a reward at the end of the day for the noble task they perform. Journalist salaries aren’t cookie cutter amounts that fit across the entire industry, but rather they depend on various factors. One quality, such as level of schooling, experience, or type of journalism, can make wages significantly different for people. The following factors all influence the final amount:
Table of Contents
How Journalist Salary Changes by Location
Where a journalist works is one of the most significant factors affecting their salary. Various states have differing requirements for their journalists, and the same goes for different countries. In many areas you must attend a learning institution to become a journalist, whereas in other places you have to complete tough exams outside of formal schooling to attain the title of a journalist. The tougher the requirements, the higher the pay. More indirectly, different areas also just have different costs of living and value of local money, affecting the amount of money paid in terms of relative value.
Effects of a Journalist’s Ability to Stay Updated
Technology has advanced very quickly in the past few decades. This provides journalists the opportunity to shine by keeping up with the latest and greatest methods of displaying and communicating their work. For some, this is a detriment that makes them unable to compete with other journalists. But for the others, it is a special skill that they are able to provide, allowing them to demand higher salaries.
Journalists Owning Agencies
If you have mastered your work well and gathered enough confidence, you can run your own business. In that case, you are free from the limitations of working for a larger company. For instance, if you are a court reporter, you can move on to getting your own clients. As a journalist, finding a specific niche in which you excel will earn you a higher salary.
Salary for Editing vs. Content Writing
When it comes to writing material, not all writing is created equal. Writing may include everything from gathering the information to formally writing articles. It may also only be one part of that process. Editing, on the other hand, generally won’t include gathering or writing original material. Rather, it focuses on improving material that already exists. But even this can require highly variable amounts of work. Proofreading is very simple, and performed at the last minute for catching small errors. On the other hand, copyediting can be so involved that it is practically the same amount of work as creating new content.
On average, a book editor works for 55 hours a week, which is much higher compared to other staff members. Although, the totals may eventually even out within the year considering the time spent on coordination, production, and conferences by other journalists. Editorial work may also be stressful at times since it very hard to anticipate what you will be handling the next minute. Various issues keep coming every moment. But that is also the magnificence of publishing and journalism.
Content writing will pay more than the simpler forms of editing. But a skilled editor can make just as much as a skilled writer, depending on the field. Editors in the New York publishing industry that includes magazines, newspapers, and books earn an average of about $55,000 annually. Elsewhere in Penguin, an editor salary averages $55,125 annually. An associate editor at Random House earns an average of $44,920 yearly. The editor-in-chief earns significantly vast sums of money. The editorial director salary average annually is $108,900 in New York. Despite the increased salaries for the editors compared to previous decades, the gender gap between male and female remains relatively high.
Journalist Salary Based on Type of Medium
There are many divisions within the journalism industry based on what method an organization uses for delivering information. Broadcast journalism makes up the core part of the news team, concerning itself with television and radio broadcasting. A broadcast journalist may play various roles such as editing, acting, reporting, and playing the role of a correspondent. Print journalism, on the other hand, is increasingly fading out of style, while multimedia and digital media are growing more and more all the time.
Most professionals in the journalism field start from broadcast journalism and make their way up in the journalism career. It is excellent being a newscaster as you will always be right in the midst of the action and no two days will ever be the same. However, it is still a challenging field and often calls for a lot of menial work to be able to get your foot in the door. The pay is also not always as high as other areas.
Broadcast journalism salary depends on whether you are working freelance or you have a salaried role with a given company. But usually, broadcast journalist salary ranges from around $20,000 on the lower side to over $80,000 on the upper end based on the roles performed and the experience. The average salary is however around $40,000. Multimedia sources can pay much more given their variety of content on all platforms.
Salary for Specific Journalist Positions
Fashion journalists follow and identify the current trends and styles in the industry. They keep track of fashion shows, interview the models and the fashion designers, write fashion magazines and articles, and update their blogs and social media.
The field requires formal training and education. In return, this journalist can expect to earn average incomes between $47,000 and $63,000 annually depending on the region in the US, based on the US Bureau of labor statistics. The individuals, just like any other field in journalism, typically have a bachelors degree in journalism and communication. At times, an employer might prefer individuals with an experienced background in the fashion industry.
Some institutions offer a bachelors degree in fashion design, giving the individuals a better chance of securing a job. Interpersonal skills, creativity, and persistence are very impressive traits employers look for in the fashion writers.
The News Anchor
When events and disasters occur unexpectedly, the public need to know what is happening in their surrounding area as fast as possible. News anchors get all these stories covered and aired. The news reporters work with data stations, newspapers, TV and also present the information on social media. Their salaries differ depending on company and region.
According to the statistics report in May 2012, the average annual news anchor journalist salary was $45,120. The highest-paid earned $45,790 on average annually. However, it is worth noting that the percentage of the salary for the news anchor was lower compared to the other professionals like entertainment, arts, design, media occupation, and sports.
For a journalist to earn this amount they typically work, on average, 40 hours every week in a very stressful environment that required meeting prompt deadlines. They have frequently changing work schedules, and they must report on a significant story or on breaking news.
Investigative journalists carry out in-depth analysis and research on problems such as potential crimes or criminal activities taking place somewhere. The results are later available to the public domain.
Investigative journalists usually work for TV stations, publications, and newspapers. Some of them work in fixed positions while others work freelance. It is a challenging job with no certainty of success, and may take a lot of time to come up with a clear explanation of a given issue.
It calls for excellent communication skills to be able to interview the subjects and come up with the factual information needed for the report. You must be able to investigate the topics of interest before delivering the final information to the masses. Each topic may be assigned, or the reporter may take it as their responsibility to come up with the topic by finding new stories and ideas.
The job may involve a lot of intense pressure with deadlines to meet, and at times you have to face dangerous situations or challenging situations while investigating a story. Other agencies may as well carry out the same investigation, and this means you must be factual and coherent in the best way possible for the readers to understand.
A Bachelors degree in communication or journalism is the minimum entry qualification, though at times it may only take experience and talent to handle the task sufficiently. The average pay for an investigative journalist is $62,444 annually.
Data journalists work to deliver important global news with prompt delivery from and to all corners of the world. This includes posting on all available media platforms for access by the public. They must present factual data that can be trusted from independent and verified sources. In any given day, more than half of the world population have access to reports.
Data journalists work on various parts of projects rich in data – from investigating the subjects, developing stories and news applications, and even coming up with advanced newsroom tools that are meant to enhance the reporting of breaking news.
Data journalists devise better ways to tell stories both in words and other communicative means. They work hand-in-hand with the graphic designers, text reporters, editors, designers, and video journalists to finesse the story and bring it across the platforms for access by the public. The average data journalist salary is $37,715.
Sporting events can be some of the most inspiring stories for a journalist to report. They show struggle, competition, skill, drama, defeat, and victory. Sports reports must be able to draw the attention of listeners and readers, avoiding just a simple summation.
The meat of the material is based on the comments from the players, coaches, and referees. But no matter how experienced you are in sports, employers will always demand a bachelors degree in journalism or related fields like communication before offering you the position. However, if you are well-versed in sports, that may give you an upper hand over your competitors and increase your potential to earn.
A sports journalist salary is on average $36,640 based on the Bureau of Statistics. However, some wages may surpass the average. Sports reporters working for large companies in particular tend to receive higher payment. The TV sports anchor can earn as much as $70,000 annually. However, a radio sports anchor may earn much less.
Final Verdict on Journalist Salaries
Journalism may be regarded as a social and public occupation. Journalists ensure credibility in the decision making to help society maintain its core functions. They play a very significant role in shaping all kinds of decisions in a democratic society. Accounting for transparency ensures people justly make their choices using reliable information.
Journalist need to be impartial, timely, accurate and independent of political and commercial responsibilities as well as interests. Although a journalist handles social issues, they should not instigate any political motives. If a reporter holds a different opinion, they can air it out, but outside the media station. Otherwise, they will have undermined the unbiased position of the information. If the data is biased, the public can readily question it. The reporters have to put up with ethical reporting practices. It happens mainly through exercising self-regulation.
Despite the significant role played by journalists in a democratic society, the salary of a journalist might not reflect it so well. Journalists have to cope with criticism in their line of work, and the coverage that may not appeal to everyone or they may differ in their ideologies. Despite this, some journalists thrive in hostile working environments based on their desire and deliberate efforts to see their role performed effectively. Media is a potent tool for which we should make a distinct effort to provide remunerations that properly reflect journalists’ efforts.