Pay for Journalists in the United States is very modest at just $39K per year. Geography and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. One-fourth of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, a fair number report medical coverage and over one-half claim dental coverage as well. Most Journalists report high levels of job satisfaction. Men make up a slight majority of Journalists (50 percent) who responded to the survey. Women make up a slight majority of Journalists (50 percent) survey respondents. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.

$24,859 - $71,728
(Median)
$25K
$39K
$72K
MEDIAN: $39,381
10%
50%
90%

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$9.87 - $24.53
(Median)
$9
$15
$25
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
$24,859 - $71,728  
   
Bonus
$409.76 - $9,000  
Profit Sharing
$1,000  
Commission
$4,038  
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).
)
$23,873 - $70,012  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 604
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$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$9.87 - $24.53  
   
Hourly Tips
$1.49  
Overtime
$8.43 - $44.04  
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$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$409.76 - $9,000  
   
Commission
$4,038  
Profit Sharing
$1,000  
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).
)
$23,873 - $70,012  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 135
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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 become Communications Specialists may see a small rise in pay. On average, Communications Specialists earn $45K per year.

Journalist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Journalist


Survey takers working as Journalists report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, facility with Social Media Marketing and Media / Public Relations are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 38 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Those listing Photography as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Social Media Optimization and Adobe Photoshop also typically command lower compensation. Those familiar with Editing also tend to know Technical Writing.

Pay by Experience Level for Journalist

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


For many Journalists, more experience generally translates to higher pay. The average beginner in this position makes around $35K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $42K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Journalists make a median salary of $51K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't that much higher than less experienced individuals' earnings; the veterans make just $58K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $37,540

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

San Diego offers some of the highest pay in the country for Journalists, 60 percent above the national average. Journalists will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+59 percent), San Francisco (+32 percent), New York (+15 percent), and Miami (+13 percent). Location is a huge contributor to overall pay, with Journalists in Charlotte earning a whopping 32 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Dallas (18 percent less) and Seattle (5 percent less).

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Journalist Salaries




National Average
$38,000


Skills That Affect Journalist Salaries

Social Media Marketing
up arrow 38%

Media / Public Relations
up arrow 18%

Research Analysis
up arrow 3%

Writing Procedures & Documentation
0%

Video Editing
0%

National Average
$38,000

Editing
up arrow 1%

Online Research
up arrow 1%

Technical Writing
up arrow 2%

writing
up arrow 8%

Reporting
up arrow 8%

Product Photography
up arrow 10%

Adobe Photoshop
up arrow 18%

Social Media Optimization
up arrow 22%

Photography
up arrow 27%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 47 votes.

Gender

Female
50 %
Male
50 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
10%
1-4 years
48%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
13%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 73%
dental benefits
Dental: 52%
medical benefits
Vision: 38%
dental benefits
None: 24%
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