Staff Writer Salary

Staff Writers aren't exactly in the most profitable line of business; these folks earn a belt-tightening average of $40K per year. Geographic location and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. For the most part, Staff Writers enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Women account for the majority of Staff Writers who responded to the questionnaire — 64 percent to be exact. While some workers in this profession — close to one-fourth — do not have any health coverage, a fair number do receive medical benefits and over one-half have dental insurance. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$26,210 - $61,734
(Median)
$26K
$40K
$62K
MEDIAN: $40,301
10%
50%
90%

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$9.69 - $24.96
(Median)
$9
$14
$25
MEDIAN: $13.00
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$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$26,210 - $61,734  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $4,750  
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).
)
$23,630 - $61,104  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 251
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$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$9.69 - $24.96  
   
Overtime
$14.45 - $37.10  
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$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$0.00 - $4,750  
   
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).
)
$23,630 - $61,104  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 68
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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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Advancing into a Senior Writer role seems to be a popular career move for Staff Writers, and folks who currently work in the latter position report a notably larger median income of $66K per year. As Staff Writers progress in their field, many go on to become Managing Editors. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and pay for the position is usually $51K per year. Another common career choice for Staff Writers is to move into a Newspaper Reporter role. Typically, Newspaper Reporters get paid $30K.

Staff Writer Job Listings

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Survey results imply that Staff Writers put a diverse skill set to use. Most notably, skills in Blogging, Reporting, Online Research, and Technical Writing are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include writing, Editing, and Social Media Marketing. Editing and Technical Writing are also commonly seen together.

Pay by Experience Level for Staff Writer

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


Staff Writers who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $35K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $47K. On average, Staff Writers make $51K following one to two decades on the job. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $55K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

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 44%

Experienced
up arrow 35%

Mid-Career
up arrow 22%

National Average
$38,000


Skills That Affect Staff Writer Salaries

Blogging
up arrow 5%

Reporting
up arrow 2%

National Average
$38,000

Online Research
up arrow 1%

Technical Writing
up arrow 3%

up arrow 6%

Social Media Marketing
up arrow 6%

writing
up arrow 13%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 62 votes.

Gender

Female
64 %
Male
36 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
55%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
8%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 75% dental benefits Dental: 55%
vision benefits Vision: 41% employee benefits None: 24%
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