Journalist Salary

Journalists in the United States can expect only a modest salary, with average pay of just $38K per year. Residence and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, between a fifth and a fourth are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by a fair number and dental insurance is reported by slightly more than half. For the most part, Journalists enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 52 percent. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.

$24,151 - $71,166
(Median)
$24K
$38K
$71K
MEDIAN: $38,095
10%
50%
90%

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$9.89 - $25.62
(Median)
$9
$14
$26
MEDIAN: $14.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$24,151 - $71,166  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $7,796  
Profit Sharing
$1,023  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$23,092 - $70,648  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 660
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$9.89 - $25.62  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.22  
Overtime
$9.83 - $50.92  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $7,796  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,023  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$23,092 - $70,648  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 149
United States (change)

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Job Description for Journalist

A journalist carries out research to create news articles. These news articles may be published online or in a newspaper or a magazine. In other cases, the journalist’s stories will be broadcast on television or radio. The journalist will be responsible for looking for articles that are relevant and will grip the audience’s attention.

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Journalist Tasks

  • Review and edit copy.
  • Report and write stories for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, or the internet.
  • Collect and interpret facts about news events through interviews, investigations, and observation.
  • Work with news editor and reporters to generate new content.

Common Career Paths for Journalist


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Journalists who transition into an upper level News Journalist position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. The average News Journalist makes $34K a year.

Journalist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Journalist


Journalists seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, facility with Research Analysis, Media / Public Relations, and Social Media Marketing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 30 percent, 22 percent, and 18 percent, respectively. Those listing Social Media Optimization as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Photography and Reporting also typically command lower compensation. The majority of those who know Editing also know Technical Writing.

Pay by Experience Level for Journalist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Journalists. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $33K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $42K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $54K in this role. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $62K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $36,741

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Journalists, busy Washington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 63 percent above the national average. Journalists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+24 percent), San Francisco (+24 percent), San Diego (+22 percent), and Chicago (+16 percent). Location is a huge contributor to overall pay, with Journalists in Charlotte earning a whopping 32 percent below the national average. Atlanta and Boston are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 17 percent lower and 15 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Journalist Salaries




National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Journalist Salaries

Research Analysis
up arrow 30%

Media / Public Relations
up arrow 22%

Social Media Marketing
up arrow 18%

writing
up arrow 6%


Editing
up arrow 4%

Video Editing
0%

National Average
$37,000

Writing Procedures & Documentation
up arrow 1%

Online Research
up arrow 9%

Reporting
up arrow 15%

Photography
up arrow 18%

Social Media Optimization
up arrow 23%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 74 votes.

Gender

Female
52 %
Male
48 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
49%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 76%
dental benefits
Dental: 52%
medical benefits
Vision: 36%
dental benefits
None: 22%
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