Print News TV Radio Who’s Hiring? - Who’s Paying?


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This research paper examines the job market and salaries for mass media graduates.

Research indicates that the number of traditional print journalism jobs and their salaries will continue to decline. Broadcast journalism jobs are rebounding, though the pay is stagnant. The number of advertising, marketing and PR jobs, as well as their salaries, are expected to increase in years to come. The greatest employment potential exists on the Internet, which is already a dominant employer.

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Print News TV Radio Who’s Hiring? - Who’s Paying?

  1. 1. Employment Challenges & Opportunities for Mass Communications Graduates By Amani Channel, MA University of West Georgia College of Mass Communications Copyright 1/1/13
  2. 2. ChannelPage 1 AbstractJob opportunities for mass communications graduates are making a modestrecovery after the serious decline observed during the height of the GreatRecession from 2007 through 2009. The decline, which resulted from a loss inadvertising and classified revenueand the increasing availability of freeinformation on the Internet, has left lasting effects on media jobs market.This paper will use data collected from the University of Georgia’s Annual Surveyof Journalism and Mass Communications Graduates, The Bureau of LaborStatistics, and other sources to examine the employment challenges andopportunitiesfor mass communications graduates.Research indicates thatthe number of traditional print journalism jobs and theirsalaries will continue to decline. Broadcast journalism jobs are rebounding,though the pay is stagnant. The number of advertising, marketing and PR jobs,as well as their salaries, are expected to increase in years to come. The greatestemployment potential exists on the Internet, which is already a dominantemployer.This author suggests that any mass communications program that doesn’teducate students in new media disciplines like blogging, multimedia journalism,and web design isn’t preparing its graduates for employment success.
  3. 3. State of the Job MarketIn recent years, specifically during the Great Recession, employment has beenchallenging for mass communications graduates. The recession lasted from2007 through 2009. During that time, 8.8 million jobs were lost, but the jobmarket is still experiencing ripples from the economic tidal wave (Zuckerman,2011). The 2011 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass CommunicationGraduates sums it up, “The job market for journalism and mass communicationgraduates in recent years has been horrible, and the recovery that is in evidencefrom the experiences of the 2011 graduates is only a modest one” (Becker, Vlad,Kalpen K; 2012 p.9.).The losses are notable. According to UNITY’s Layoff Tracker Report, at onepoint journalism industry jobs were lost at three times the average of jobs to thegeneral economy monthly. 46,599 journalism jobs were lost between January 1,2008 and September 15, 2009. During this time, media outlets like theRockyMountain News, Albuquerque Tribune, and theSeattle Post-Intelligencerceasedoperations. (Stevens, A.; 2009)Though the job market is making modest improvements, challenges remain. Ingeneral, hiring has picked up slightly, but salaries and benefits are flat forbroadcasters, and the outlook for print reporters is not optimistic.(Becker, Vlad,Kalpen K; 2012) (Hodierne, 2009).One bright spot appears to be opportunities that involve the Internet and socialmedia. More graduates are finding jobs that utilize writing and editingonline, andeducationalinstitutions seem to be doing an adequate job preparing them forthese opportunities. (Becker, Vlad, Kalpen; 2011).A summary of the job outlook, trends, and salaries for various masscommunications professionals follows.Newspaper JobsThere is no doubt that the print journalism industry has seen better years(Hodierne, 2009). Being a newspaper reporter is ranked among the top 10 worstjobs (CareerCast, 2012). The industry is littered with tales of layoffs and buyoutsthat have recently affected mainstream organizations like Newsweek and theNew York Times (Poynter, 2012).The declines stem from free and accessible news via the internet and classifiedads which have led to less profits, lower salaries, and in many cases, job cuts(Grabowicz, P., 2012). While many newspapers have refocused efforts towardscreating digital content, the increasingad revenue generated from online
  4. 4. revenuedoes not currently make up for the lossesfrom print revenue (Edmunds,Gunskin, &Rosentiel; 2012)College graduates who work for weekly newspapers average $26,000(Becker,Vlad, Kalpen; 2011). This is in line with industry averages as reported by theBureau of Labor Statistics which indicates that on the low end, salaries start atabout $25,000 while on the high end reporters average about $75,000.00 a year.Additionally newspaper jobs are predicted to drop by 8%. Note: The Bureau forLabor Statistics groups broadcast and print reporters in the same category.Broadcast JobsThe salary range for broadcast news reporters ranges from $16,000 to $200,000,and the average annual salary is $40,000. 1,131 TV news jobs were added in2011, which equates to a total of 27,653 full time jobs. That is a gain of 4.3%staffing positions over the previous year, and the second to highest news staffaverage. (Papper, 2012).The RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey suggests that broadcast TV hasrebounded from The Great Recession. Broadcast TV profitability is nearly 60—the highest it’s been since 1998.That doesn’t mean that broadcast journalists aremaking more money overall. The 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing andProfitability Survey suggests that income levels are stagnant. Broadcast newssalaries rose 2.0% in 2011, indicating that hiring efforts were focused on young,less experienced staff. When adjusted for inflation,both radio and TV newsprofessionals, “lost ground in real wages.” (Papper, 2011b).AnnouncersThe Bureau of Labor Statistics groups both radio and TV announcers together.These jobs range from news, sports, and music presenters, to those who serveas master of ceremonies (emcees), interviewers, and DJs.Jobs for radio and TV announcers are expected to grow 7 percent from 2010 to2020, which isn’t keeping pace with the average for other occupations. Thosewho work as public address system and other announcers can expect a 5percent growth during the same time frame, which again is slow when comparedto other industries. (Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2012b).RadioThe average and median salaries are up approximately $3,000.00 from 2011.Radio reporters who work for stations with 50,000 to 250,000 listeners had amedian salary of $30,000 while those who work at stations with fewer than50,000 listeners made a median salary of $18,500 (Papper; 2012b). Graduateswho found full-time work in radio averaged $27,500 (Becker, Vlad, Kalpen;2012).
  5. 5. Non-journalism JobsThere was a significant improvement in 2011 job prospects in thetelecommunications field as well as graduates who majored in advertising andpublic relations(Becker, Vlad, Kalpen; 2012).Job opportunities for Public Relations specialists are expected to increase 23percent from 2010 to 2020, above the pace of other occupations. The medianpay for PR professionals is $57,550 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012c)Employment is expected to grow 14 percent from 2010 to 2020 for advertising,marketing, and promotions professionals, which will keep pace with otheroccupations. The median salary for advertising and promotions managers is$83,890, while the median pay for marketing managers is $112,800 (Bureau ofLabor Statistics, 2012d).Online ReportersA number of large news outlets have created community news sites that featurethe same type of stories as small-town newspapers. It appears to be moredifficult to track the salaries for those employed at digital news outletshowever. In general, a reporter/editor will maintain a site and post to itthroughout the day. Salaries range from $38,000 to $42,000, while other digitaloutlets use the number of hits, page views, or each story written to determine thecompensation (Scott; 2012).FreelanceThere are opportunities for journalists to freelance for news organizations thathave downsized, which enables these operations to maintain their newscoverage. Often times freelancers are seasoned, experienced journalists. In the1990s, freelance writers earned as much as $1 per word for writing, but themarket has since been flooded with writers, which has affected the pay scale(Scott, 2012).Other factors can affect the salaries for professional writers such asthe citywhere one lives, and the individual’s reputation. When it comes to copywriting,there are writers who make $50 an hour and those who command up to $300 anhour. (FreelanceSwitch, 2012)Freelance broadcasters and video professionals also can find work fromcorporations, news outlets, and other organizations. Camera operators forexample,generally will invest in their own equipment and charge by the day, orhalf day. While rates vary depending on the experience, job, client, andequipment, the rates of freelance director of photography Alex Gazio appearconsistent with freelance rates.A full-day High Definition shoot is $1,400, while ahalf-day standard definition shoot is $650.00(GazioProductions, 2012).
  6. 6. Job Outlook for College GraduatesThe University of Georgia’s Annual Survey of Journalism and MassCommunications Graduatesprovides comprehensive analysis into the health ofthe media industry and employment opportunities for college graduates(Becker,Vlad, Kalpen; 2012).The 2011 surveyreveals a slight increase in full-time employment opportunitiesfor job seeking mass communications graduates. Full-time employment hit62.2%, up from 58.2 percent a year earlier for bachelor degree recipients.54.8 percent of the graduates surveyed found full-time employment, up from 52percent in the previous year. Salaries also increased slightly, but when adjustedfor inflation, graduates earned less than they did in 2006. 2011 graduatesaveraged about $31,000 a year while master’s graduates earned about $40,000.Salaries aren’t keeping up with inflation, however, and benefits in 2011 weremore inline with 2010.In general, women were more successful than men as far as finding employment,however, minorities continue to struggle to find work when compared with non-minorities. That being said, the gap between the level of employment of minorityand non-minority graduates is lower.According to Monster, there are numerous employment opportunities that nowexist for journalism graduates that include: book editor, content producer,copywriter, grant writer, newservice writer, newsletter writer/editor, publicrelations specialist, sport information director, and technical writer (Vogt, 2012).New OpportunitiesAs far as potential growth areas, the opportunities appear to be on the Internet.According to Ad Age, one in six people who now work in media are employed byan internet-media business. It also suggests that more people are working for anInternet-media business than for cable TV, radio, magazines and broadcastoutlets (Johnson; 2012).Regarding relevant job skills, the 2011 Annual Survey of Journalism and MassCommunication Graduates indicates that seven out of 10 bachelor’s degreerecipients said they received sufficient web skills including writing and editing forthe web, using and creating blogs, and using social media professionally. Two-thirds of graduates found work writing and editing for the web, while one out offive found jobs building and designing websites. Social networking has alsoprovided more opportunities, with more than half of the graduates indicating thatsocial media is a part of their work responsibilities(Becker, Vlad, Kalpern; 2012).But what kind of jobs are out there? The Center for Sustainable Journalismoffers a list of emerging opportunities that includes: social media strategist,
  7. 7. blogger, multimedia reporter, headline optimizer, social media reporter, curator,and e-book creator to mention a few (Oberst, 2011). Another trend is thatmoregraduates are using media technology like a still or video camera, alongwith photo editing, or non-linear editing software.SummaryThough there are challenges for mass communication graduates in general,there is reason to be hopeful. On one side, print journalism jobs are expected tocontinue to decline, and traditional print publications will continue to struggle. Onthe other side, broadcast jobs seem to have rebounded though salaries remainflat, and the outlook for PR, marketing and telecommunications jobs remainsstrong. And the Internet is going to continue to grow, disrupt, and innovate.This is unquestionably an era of great change, which means that academicinstitutions have an even greater responsibility to train and equip graduates forthe evolving job landscape.Regardless of what changes occur in the mass communications job market, thefundamentals haven’t changed. “All communicators need to understand theiraudiences to best craft meaningful messages” (Denny; 2010). Ford (2011)shares a similar position. Well still need professionals to organize the events of the world into narratives, and our story-craving brains will still need the narrative hooks, the cold opens, the dramatic climaxes, and that all-important "■" to help us make sense of the great glut of recent history that is dumped over us every morning.In this new media era, it means that graduates need to have a command ofbasicand diverse skills to meet the demands that that job opportunities may bring.The bottom line is that academic institutions that aren’t teaching convergencejournalism and new media skills including, blogging, search engine optimization,web design and app development, for example,aren’t best equipping graduatesfor success in the job market.
  8. 8. ReferencesBureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). Reporters, Correspondent, and BroacastNews Analysts. Retrieved from of Labor Statistics. (2012b). Announcers. Retrievedfrom of Labor Statistics. (2012c). Public Relations Managers and Specialists.Retrieved from of Labor Statistics (2012d). Advertising, Promotion and MarketingManagers (2012).Ten Worst Jobs of 2012. Retrieved from, L., Vlad, T & Kaplan, K. (2012).University of Georgia Grady College ofJournalism.2011 Annual Survey of Journalism & Mass Communication.Retrieved from, Dr. (2010). Writing for new media still serves the new. Scholars andRogues., R., Guskin, E., &Rosentiel, T. (2012). Newspapers: Building DigitalRevenues Proves Painfully Slow. Retrieved from, P. (2011). Facebook and the Ephiphinator: An End to all Endings? from Switch (2012). How Much Do Freelance Writers Make? Retrievedfrom, (2012). Rate Card.
  9. 9. Grabowicz, P. (2012). Print Editions Decline. Retrievedfrom, M. (2012). Newspaper websites see increases in unique and averagedaily visitors in first quarter. Retrieved from, B. (2012). Internet-Media Employment Fuels Digital Job Growth.AdAge Retrieved from Foundation (2012). What We Fund. Knight Foundation. Retrieved from, L. (2012). 11 Journalism Jobs You May Hold in the Future. Center forSustainable Journalism.Retrieved from, B. (2012).2012 RTDNA TV and Radio News Staffing and ProfitabilitySurvey. Part I: TV News Staffing Soars to 2nd Highest Level Ever with MoreHiring Projected; Profitability Rises Again.Radio Television Digital NewsAssociation. Retrieved from, B. (2012b).2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey.Part VI: TV and Radio News Salaries Barely Edge Up. Radio Television DigitalNews Association. Retrieved from (2012).Poynter. Articles about “Layoffs/buyouts/staff cuts”.Poynter.Retrieved from, A. (2009, Sept. 17). UNITY Layoff Tracker Report.UNITY. Retrievedfrom, L. (2012). Journalist Pay Scale.Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from, P. (2012). Top 10 Jobs for Journalism Grads. Monster. Retrieved from, M. (2011). The Great Jobs Recession Goes on. USNews.comRetrieved from