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Journalist Salary

Pay for Journalists in the United States is very modest at just $38K annually. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Women Journalists who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, about a fifth are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by a strong majority and dental insurance is reported by more than half. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Journalists. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$23,714 - $70,680
(Median)
$24K
$38K
$71K
MEDIAN: $38,461
10%
50%
90%

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$9.80 - $27.40
(Median)
$9
$14
$27
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
$23,714 - $70,680  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,061  
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).
)
$22,446 - $70,024  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 446
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
$9.80 - $27.40  
   
Overtime
$9.79 - $51.71  
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 - $6,061  
   
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).
)
$22,446 - $70,024  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 112

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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


Journalists seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Research Analysis, writing, and Technical Writing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 32 percent, 17 percent, and 7 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 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.


Journalists generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. The median compensation for relatively untried workers is $32K; in the five-to-10 year group, it's higher at around $42K. Journalists bring in $55K after working for 10 to 20 years. 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 $60K.

Pay Difference by Location


With a pay rate for Journalists that is 35 percent greater than the national average, Washington offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Journalists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+27 percent), San Francisco (+20 percent), Chicago (+16 percent), and San Diego (+12 percent). Location significantly influences compensation, with Atlanta Journalists earning much less — 20 percent less — than the national average. Boston and Miami are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 16 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Journalist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 62%



National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Journalist Salaries

Research Analysis
up arrow 32%

writing
up arrow 17%


up arrow 5%

National Average
$37,000

Social Media Marketing
up arrow 1%

Online Research
up arrow 1%

Video Editing
up arrow 4%


Reporting
up arrow 15%

Photography
up arrow 20%

Social Media Optimization
up arrow 23%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 76 votes.

Gender

Female
52 %
Male
48 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
52%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 53%
vision benefits Vision: 35% employee benefits None: 20%