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Money ceiling

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SilverAndBlack, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. I dont know if this is a taboo topic or not, but a guy has to wonder.

    I make like $12 an hour working for Podunk Press. I've wanted to be a sportwriter for as long as I could remember and never listened to anyone, though I constantly heard "dont do it if you want to make a living," "dont do it for the money", as I'm sure we all have.

    Well.. guess what? Money is important, go figure. But I'm curious, I've never asked journalists at more established shops, but what are pay scales like for MLB beat writers or columnists or just as, say a high school writer, at 100K+ circulation papers? I feel I should know what the future holds in terms of compensation, to see if, really I can swing this.

    So if anyone in those positions wouldn't mind discussing their salary, myself -- and I'm sure others -- would love to hear.
  2. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Not nearly as much as it used to be. I work harder than I ever have, am better than I used to be and make less money (and pay more in rent) than I did five years ago.

    Now I know that is not entirely unique to journalism.

    $12 an hour is not really out of line for first or second year people at sub-30,000 circ. papers. Don't mean to be condescending, but that's just the reality of it.

    Truthfully, veteran people at larger shops can make a decent living, but there are certainly other careers that will have one on the faster track to big paychecks. So, yeah, its true that the people who are in it largely for the pay often wind up disappointed and get out and find something else.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would say at a bigger paper -- $200,000 or more -- a reporter can generally expect to make between $40,000 and $60,000.

    If you are just starting out, maybe a little less. If you are a vet or columnist at a $200,000 circ paper you could go up to $80,000-$100,000.

    Some high profile writers and places with high costs of living can make a lot more.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Cost-of-living is key. If you go from $30k to $60k but move from Podunk to Big City prices, you haven't gained much. You really have to work to find a sweet spot of decent pay and reasonable COL.
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

  6. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    Wow, that's awesome. I'll have to check that place out some day.

    As for salaries . . . I'm at about a 50,000-60,000 circ paper in my third year out of school making just over $16 an hour. Not great, but cost of living here is reasonable and having a second salary (my wife's) makes things a little easier. There's guys at our paper making well over $50,000 as senior reporters, which is good money here, but they've been at the paper 15-20 years or longer.
  7. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    i highly recommend mcguires in pensacola, best restaurant in that part of the world.
  8. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    Look, get out now if you want to make a good wage.
    The only people who will be making good money in this business in coming years will be the think tank social media "experts" that each paper will employ.
    There will be no copy editors, none.
    The writers will be poorly paid. Those are the facts. If you still want to write, go for it, but you won't be making much cash and you'll never get a raise. Those are just the realities of the situation.
  9. DoctorFace

    DoctorFace New Member

    For real. I was a writer/copy editor at a near 40k circ paper for almost five years and was still making the same $10.25/hr I was making the day I started when I got laid off.

    Now, I'm in graduate school working towards a big-boy career while doing freelance stuff AND working a part-time job.
  10. Thanks for all the responses.

    It doesn't even seem like a beat writer, NFL, MLB or big-time NCAA even approaches a six-figure salary, no matter the size of the paper. I know being a columnist is where the big money is, but now I'm even not so sure.
  11. wannabeu

    wannabeu Member

    I used to work at a 200,000-plus circulation paper for five year covering a DI college team and still only made $33,000 before I got out. It was a good enough salary where I lived because the cost of living was so cheap. But then I went to grad school and now I am making more than twice that amount. The salaries are getting less and less in the newspaper biz nowadays.
  12. NoOneYouKnow

    NoOneYouKnow Member

    You have to move up and then move out of papers.

    Ten-plus years ago I started at $26K out of college as a preps writer at a 45k paper. Moved a couple times in my first few years, each time gaining salary. Now I'm out of papers and on the web, making $100K-plus a year.

    I'm a believer in moving up the ladder as fast a possible early on. It's the only way to keep that salary going. Granted the moving part was much easier when papers were hiring.

    Just keep your head in the game. Make contacts when you can and don't be afraid to call upon them.
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