Staff Writer Salary

Pay for Staff Writers in the United States is very modest at just $40K per year. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — somewhere between a fifth and a fourth lack coverage. On the flip side, a fair number have medical insurance and a little more than half receive dental plans. Female Staff Writers survey participants are more prevalent than men — 65 percent of professionals. Job satisfaction for Staff Writers is high. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$27,200 - $63,555
(Median)
$27K
$40K
$64K
MEDIAN: $40,381
10%
50%
90%

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$9.77 - $25.17
(Median)
$9
$14
$25
MEDIAN: $13.00
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$22K$44K$66K
Salary
$27,200 - $63,555  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $4,913  
Profit Sharing
$666  
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).
)
$24,182 - $61,979  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 299
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$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$9.77 - $25.17  
   
Overtime
$14.74 - $36.02  
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$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$0.00 - $4,913  
   
Profit Sharing
$666  
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).
)
$24,182 - $61,979  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 77
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Job Description for Staff Writer

Staff writers are usually hired by organizations that create some form of written media for customers or consumers. Typically, media outlets that report news in some field (such as technology, sports, and health care) employ one or more staff writers. Regular news outlets and magazines also often refer to reporters and story creators as staff writers as well.

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Staff Writer Tasks

  • Adhere to strict deadlines and produce quality content quickly.
  • Perform journalistic research and conduct interviews as needed.
  • Write informative, professional material for print or online media sources.
  • Use word processing programs and content management systems to curate material.

Common Career Paths for Staff Writer


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There are some Staff Writers — though it's uncommon — that transition into Senior Writers, where earnings are an average $67K annually. Staff Writers typically move into roles as Managing Editors or Communications Specialists, and those positions pay $12K more and $6K more, respectively.

Staff Writer Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Staff Writer


Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Most notably, skills in Blogging, Reporting, Technical Writing, and Editing are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Social Media Marketing, writing, and Online Research. Most people experienced in Editing also know Social Media Marketing.

Pay by Experience Level for Staff Writer

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


Staff Writers with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. 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 $47K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $53K in this role. Staff Writers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $57K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $38,734

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

For Staff Writers, busy Boston offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 39 percent above the national average. Staff Writers will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+27 percent), Atlanta (+17 percent), Los Angeles (+12 percent), and New York (+12 percent). Staff Writers' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Staff Writers in Morgantown bring in salaries that are 35 percent lower than the national average.

Staff Writer Reviews

What is it like working as a Staff Writer?

Staff Writer in Fairfax:
""The hours are long, but hey at least the pay is bad.""
Pros: Writing a column and thinking creatively are my favorite parts of the job compared to straight reporting. I enjoy going to city council meetings and learning how cities are run. The office setting is very casual and if I need to be absent for an appointment/sickness/emergency, I don't have to fill out any forms--I can just leave. I like being connected to the communities.
Cons: The newspaper I work for covers four small towns. That means a LOT of nights at the office waiting for council meetings or school board meetings to start. I also have to drive almost 40 minutes to my job every day for as much pay as I would be making at a lot of other non-degree jobs. My bosses do not come to the office on a regular basis, so when I started I was thrown to the wolves. Also, with a small full time staff (four in the office on average, but one employee works three days a week, the other four, and the last one 4.5) I am required to be in the office a lot, which is not my cup of tea.

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Experience Affects Staff Writer Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 46%

Experienced
up arrow 37%

Mid-Career
up arrow 20%

National Average
$39,000


Skills That Affect Staff Writer Salaries

Blogging
up arrow 6%

Reporting
up arrow 4%

Technical Writing
0%

National Average
$39,000

up arrow 5%

Online Research
up arrow 7%

writing
up arrow 8%

Social Media Marketing
up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 68 votes.

Gender

Female
65 %
Male
35 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
57%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
11%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 76%
dental benefits
Dental: 55%
medical benefits
Vision: 42%
dental benefits
None: 23%
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