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Journalist Salary (United States)

Pay for Journalists in the United States is very modest at just $38K annually. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Although between a fifth and a fourth lack health benefits of any kind, a strong majority do enjoy medical insurance, and a little over a half get dental coverage, too. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 55 percent. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
Journalist Salary (?
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.
)
$23,507 - $70,695
(Median)
24K
38K
49K
71K
MEDIAN: $37,501
10%
50%
75%
90%
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Journalist Salary (?
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.
)
$9.54 - $27.06
(Median)
9
13
18
27
MEDIAN: $13.00
10%
50%
75%
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
$23,507 - $70,695  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,980  
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).
)
$21,971 - $70,293  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 422
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$20$40$60
Hourly Rate
$9.54 - $27.06  
   
Overtime
$6.38 - $57.46  
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 - $5,980  
   
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).
)
$21,971 - $70,293  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 104
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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.

Common Career Paths for Journalist

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Journalists' salary tends to stay somewhat level for those who assume higher-end positions like News Journalist. Median pay for News Journalists is $34K.

Journalist Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Journalist

Survey results suggest that Journalists put a wide range of professional skills to use. Most notably, skills in writing, Editing, Technical Writing, and Online Research are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 7 percent and 13 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Photography, Reporting, and Writing Procedures & Documentation. It is often found that people who know Editing are also skilled in Writing Procedures & Documentation.

Pay by Experience Level for Journalist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Journalists with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. People who have worked for fewer than five years bring home $32K on average. Median compensation in the five-to-10 year group, however, is higher at approximately $42K. Journalists who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $58K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $61K.

Pay Difference By Location

Washington
up arrow 40%
up arrow 32%
Chicago
up arrow 27%
San Francisco
up arrow 19%
San Diego
up arrow 15%
Los Angeles
up arrow 11%
National Average
$36,000
Boston
up arrow 13%
Atlanta
up arrow 18%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For those looking to make money, Journalists in Washington enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 40 percent above the national average. Journalists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+32 percent), Chicago (+27 percent), San Francisco (+19 percent), and San Diego (+15 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 18 percent south of the national average, can be found in Atlanta.

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Experience Affects Journalist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 69%
National Average
$36,000

Skills That Affect Journalist Salaries

writing
up arrow 13%
up arrow 7%
Online Research
up arrow 2%
Social Media Marketing
up arrow 1%
National Average
$36,000
Video Editing
up arrow 1%
Writing Procedures & Documentation
up arrow 4%
Reporting
up arrow 10%
Photography
up arrow 17%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 78 votes.

Gender

Female
55%
female alumni
 
Male
45%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
54%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
10%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 75% dental benefits Dental: 52%
vision benefits Vision: 33% employee benefits None: 23%