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Journalist Salary

Journalists in the United States can expect only a modest salary, with average pay of just $38K annually. Experience level is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Work is enjoyable for Journalists, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. A strong majority enjoy medical while slightly more than half get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to over a third. Men are slightly outnumbered by their female counterparts who answered the questionnaire, who make up a slight majority at 52 percent. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.

$23,858 - $71,065
(Median)
$24K
$38K
$71K
MEDIAN: $38,013
10%
50%
90%

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$9.72 - $27.19
(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
$23,858 - $71,065  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,104  
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).
)
$22,548 - $70,445  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 467
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
$9.72 - $27.19  
   
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 - $6,104  
   
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).
)
$22,548 - $70,445  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 113

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United States (change)


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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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Many Journalists move into a News Journalist role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. News Journalists on average bring in a similar salary to Journalists.

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 Research Analysis, Media / Public Relations, and writing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 37 percent, 21 percent, and 13 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. Most people skilled in Editing are similarly competent in Technical Writing.

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. Those who have worked for fewer than five years take home a median salary of $32K, and workers with five to 10 years of experience earn a higher $41K on average. Journalists with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $55K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $61K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location


Surpassing the national average by 38 percent, Journalists in Washington receive some of the highest pay in the country. Journalists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+27 percent), San Francisco (+21 percent), Chicago (+15 percent), and San Diego (+13 percent). Falling short of the national average by 19 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Atlanta. Below-median salaries also turn up in Boston and Miami (10 percent lower and 3 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Journalist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 66%



National Average
$37,000


Skills That Affect Journalist Salaries

Research Analysis
up arrow 37%

Media / Public Relations
up arrow 21%

writing
up arrow 13%

Social Media Marketing
up arrow 12%


up arrow 6%

Online Research
up arrow 1%

National Average
$37,000

Video Editing
up arrow 3%


Reporting
up arrow 10%

Photography
up arrow 19%

Social Media Optimization
up arrow 22%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 75 votes.

Gender

Female
52 %
Male
48 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
8%
1-4 years
50%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 78% dental benefits Dental: 53%
vision benefits Vision: 36% employee benefits None: 20%
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