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U.S. business journalists’ median salary is $65,000-70,000, SABEW reports

SABEW Society American Business Editors WritersBusiness journalists in the United States have a median salary of between $65,000 and $70,ooo, according to an informal survey in July and August by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW).

That compares to a median salary of just over $60,000 in a survey of 473 randomly selected business journalists conducted by a market-research firm in April and May for the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. The median means half make more and half make less.

SABEW asked business journalists to tell it what they made, and 394 responded to the request from its volunteer director of research, Chris Roush. Roush is the Walter E. Hussman senior distinguished scholar in business journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The median salary for a business reporter was between $60,000 and $65,000, while the median salary for a business section editor was between $75,000 to $80,000, SABEW found. An editor of a business print publication had a median salary between $95,000 and $100,000.

The Reynolds Center survey by Behavior Research Center Inc. of Phoenix found the highest salaries among wire-service journalists; those with 10 to 19 years of experience had a median salary of $102,500. The lowest salaries were among print journalists; those with less than 10 years of experience reported a median salary of $32,800. See page 19 of the study for more salary details.

THE FULL REYNOLDS CENTER STUDY: Business Journalists Study 2010 (PDF)
Respondents averaged 20 years in journalism and 12.8 years as business journalists. Along with salary data, they reported many changes in their jobs in the past five years:

  • Six out of 10 are doing more or about the same level of investigative journalism.
  • Nine out of 10 have learned new skills.
  • Three-fourths say their workload has increased and they use social media.
  • About half blog, file first for the Web and cover more beats.

About the Author

Linda Austin is the executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. A former business editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, she spent a decade as a top newsroom leader, serving as the editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky; executive editor of The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and managing editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C. She offers business-story ideas and notes good #bizreads @LindaAustin_

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