Starting salary for a journalist

Written by marcia frost Google
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Starting salary for a journalist
Location makes a big difference in the salary of a journalist starting out. (photojournalist image by vb_photo from

The beginning salary for a journalist can vary greatly depending on the degree earned, industry, location, prior experience and company type. A first-time job for a journalist may be as a reporter for a newspaper or magazine, a copywriter for an ad agency, or an assistant to an editor at a radio or television station.


A journalism degree, which is required for most jobs in journalism, can increase the salary offered. With a bachelor's in arts or science, starting salaries range anywhere from £14,300 and £32,500 a year, with the higher amounts going to those with specific journalism or communication degrees. A master's in journalism can add another £6,500 to £13,000 to the initial salary.


The industry you begin work in will make a difference in the starting salary for a journalist. The range for magazine and newspaper work is about the same, £18,200 to £26,000 annually, but it will be lower for a local publication than for a national one. Those working on the Internet or in a conglomerate of newspapers can earn about £6,500 a year more. Broadcast news journalists can command a salary as high as £39,000 when starting out.


Location makes a big difference in the salary of a journalist starting out. Large cities pay more in general, and usually have more opportunities. It is important, though, to keep in mind that the cost of living will be more in a large city like New York or Los Angeles. An entry-level newspaper reporter in New York City can expect to make about £6,500 more per year than one beginning in Seattle.


Experience can make a big different in any starting salary. Journalists are unique in that they have plenty of opportunities to gain experience. Working for the campus newspaper or magazine can provide valuable clips. There also are opportunities on the Internet to gain bylines (and even cash) as a freelance writer. A journalist who has been published for five years (which can be accomplished while getting a degree) can command a salary range that's £4,550 to £7,800 more than the someone who has no experience.

Company Type

Non-profit companies don't necessarily start journalists out with a lower salary than corporations, and there are usually a lot of opportunities with press releases and campaigns to be written. There are, however, a lot more volunteer and internship positions with a non-profit. Regardless of the type of company, be sure to clarify that the journalism job is a paying position and what the starting salary is.

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