Journalist Salary

Journalists in the United States can expect only a modest salary, with average pay of just $38K per year. Experience level and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Women make up a slight majority of Journalists (51 percent) survey respondents. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. A fair number enjoy medical while over one-half get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to more than a third. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.

$23,863 - $71,506
(Median)
$24K
$38K
$72K
MEDIAN: $38,453
10%
50%
90%

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$9.70 - $27.78
(Median)
$9
$15
$28
MEDIAN: $14.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$23,863 - $71,506  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,040  
Profit Sharing
$450.00 - $3,028  
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).
)
$22,779 - $71,048  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 503
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$18$36$54
Hourly Rate
$9.70 - $27.78  
   
Overtime
$10.07 - $51.07  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,040  
   
Profit Sharing
$450.00 - $3,028  
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).
)
$22,779 - $71,048  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 120
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Job Description for Journalist

A journalist is an individual hired to collect and interpret facts about various events and news stories. This may involve conducting interviews and investigations, and using personal observation. Journalists are currently employed by a magazine or newspaper company, both national as well as local, but may also be hired for an online news site or other news supplier. Many journalists work directly under a boss and news editor who oversee the columns of the magazine, paper, or website, but some journalists may also work as freelancers and supply their work on an as-needed basis.

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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.

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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 48 percent, 21 percent, and 16 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. Those educated in Editing tend to be well versed in Technical Writing.

Pay by Experience Level for Journalist

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


In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $32K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $42K. For Journalists, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $53K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $61K.

Pay Difference by Location


Journalists will find that Washington offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 53 percent. Journalists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+25 percent), San Francisco (+19 percent), San Diego (+12 percent), and Chicago (+11 percent). Atlanta is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 19 percent. Boston and Seattle are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries tend to be 6 percent less than the median.

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Experience Affects Journalist Salaries




National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Journalist Salaries

Research Analysis
up arrow 48%

Media / Public Relations
up arrow 21%

Social Media Marketing
up arrow 16%

writing
up arrow 11%


Editing
up arrow 4%

National Average
$37,000

Online Research
up arrow 1%


Video Editing
up arrow 10%

Reporting
up arrow 16%

Photography
up arrow 20%

Social Media Optimization
up arrow 23%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 73 votes.

Gender

Female
51 %
Male
49 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
50%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
13%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 53%
vision benefits Vision: 35% employee benefits None: 19%
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