Career Spotlight: Journalists

September 7, 2019
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Author: Stephanie Ludwigsen

Reporter, Correspondent & Broadcast News Analysts

  • Median Annual Wage (2018): $43,490/year or $20.91/hour
  • Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Work Experience in Related Occupation: none
  • Job growth through 2026: -9.0 percent

Editors

  • Median Annual Wage (2018): $59,480/year or $28.60/hour
  • Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Work Experience in Related Occupation: Less than five years
  • Job growth through 2026: -1.0 percent
Career Spotlight Journalists

The field of journalism crosses media channels to include print, broadcast and digital communication. While the vehicle for information delivery varies, the message behind the career remains singular. Journalists are responsible for bringing facts to the public to inform, educate and illuminate. Reporters, correspondents, analysts, photographers and videographers are on the frontlines, chasing the information. Editors prepare the content for publication.

While social media platforms have made the creation and delivery of news happen at lighting speed, job growth for traditional journalism roles is slowing down. This phenomenon doesn’t mean journalism as a profession is fading. Instead, pros in this field must continue to adapt to the news consumption demands of the digital age.

Media Outlook

While the front-porch newspaper is being replaced by click-here headlines and electronic media, people still want to know what’s going on in the world. The concept of “fake news” hasn’t dissuaded public need for information—although it may have made it tougher at times for journalists to keep public trust.

It’s true the viewership for local news has declined by 10 percent in the morning and by 14 percent for the evening, and daily newspaper circulation (print and digital) is down by 8 percent, but these facts don’t signal an information hunger strike. To stay relevant, journalists have to pivot not only on the way they report stories, but with the channels on which they deliver them.

Reporting Facts

Across all reporting disciplines—reporters, correspondences and broadcast news analysts— jobs are expected to decline by 9 percent through 2026, a fact that has landed “newspaper reporter” on the list of the 10 worst jobs for 2019. The lack of opportunity will amp up the competition for jobs, particularly as newsroom employment across the U.S. has dropped at newspaper and digital-native news outlets.

Pew Research reports that from 2008 to 2018, U.S. newsroom employment declined by 25 percent. In 2008, 114,000 editors, reporters, photographers and videographers were employed in newspaper, radio, broadcast and cable news. By 2018, about 28,000 of those professionals had lost their jobs.

The stymied job growth for journalists may be the result of closing newsrooms and social media takeover, but there is still plenty of demand for data-packed columns and stories on other media channels.

States with the highest number of employed reporters, as well as the corresponding annual mean wages, are New York ($81,930), California ($67,820), Texas ($45,910), Florida ($53,810) and the District of Columbia ($100,550).

Copy That

The job outlook for editors through 2026 remains steady, with little to no forecasted change. While this is incongruent with the projections for newsgatherers, editing remains a bright spot in the field. States with the highest number of employed editors, as well as the corresponding annual mean wages, are New York ($83,070), California ($78,150), Texas ($72,300), Florida ($58,200) and Illinois ($62,590).

Outlook: Moderate

Even as experts decry the decline of traditional media, there are plenty of reasons for journalists to get up in the morning. Cable TV news viewership and digital native news readership are up by 8 percent and 3 percent respectively. Americans are still consuming news—more are just doing it digitally. Approximately two-thirds of adults turn to social media platforms for daily briefings, even though they question the accuracy and reliability of the information.

The takeaway is that journalism, like other longstanding professions, is changing. Still, the headline remains cautiously optimistic: In our new era of publishing, journalists have to evolve to remain relevant — and in demand.