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How Much Do Journalists Make

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Discover Your Income and Career Potential as a Journalist

If you have a nose for news, journalism may be the right career for you. You'll spend your time investigating and reporting on current events, as well as creating ongoing stories of interest in writing, audio, or video formats. Compensation for journalists varies widely but is often dependent on your location, experience, and the type of media you use to present your stories to the public.

Job Description

Journalists report on trends, events and topics of interest. They spend their days hunting for stories, gathering and investigating information and then presenting their reports in magazines, newspapers, websites, or via audiovisual mediums such as television or radio. Modern journalists work as reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts, often learning to become proficient in delivering news via multiple formats.

Education Requirements

Most journalists hold at least a bachelors degree in journalism or communications. Some journalism schools offer graduate programs that are open to journalism majors, as well as individuals who majored in a non-related field during their undergraduate days.

A journalism communications degree is not always required, however, and it is possible for someone to get on-the-job training while working for a media company. For example, someone who works in an administrative role at a local newspaper or radio station may begin with basic research to support a reporter or news anchor, and eventually move into a journalistic position as she gains experience.

There were significant variances in 2020 median salary levels for journalists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts at $49,300. Journalists in the bottom 10 percent of earnings made less than $25,510 while those in the top 10 percent made more than $127,370. There are significant salary differences between different types of journalists: Broadcast news analysts earned a median salary of $55,030 while reporters and correspondents earned $37,900.


According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50 percent of reporters and correspondents work for print publishers, such as newspapers, magazines, and publishers of books and directories. Twenty-five percent work for broadcast media companies, while 11 percent are self-employed.

Years of Experience

As a journalist, you can expect to make more as your career progresses. According to the average salaries for journalists based on years of work experience are as follows:

  • 0-5 years: 35,000
  • 5-10 years: 43,000
  • 10-20 years: 51,000
  • over 20 years: 54,000

Job Growth Trend

One possible drawback to pursuing a career as a journalist is that job prospects are on the decrease. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10 percent decline in jobs between 2016 and 2026. The reasons for the decline are numerous, including the ongoing adoption of online news sources over traditional print media. Many media companies haven't been able to profitably make the transition from print to online, in part due to declining advertising revenues.

While this doesn't mean that you should give up on your hopes of becoming a journalist, you should be prepared for a challenging job market. Pursuing a highly-regarded educational program, plus seeking internships while in school, can help you craft a resume that impresses hiring managers and recruiters.


Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.

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