TV news salaries rose just 2% this year as Web staff wages stagnated

RTDNA
TV news stations may be hiring (staffing was up 4.3 percent in 2011), but salaries rose only 2 percent, according to an RTDNA/Hofstra University annual survey. “That thin margin of growth suggests that a lot of the hiring in 2011 took place among relatively young, less expensive staffers,” the survey report says.

Over the past five years of the surveys, the biggest total salary increases have gone to art directors (67 percent), news writers (31 percent) and news directors (17 percent). Weathercasters and sports anchors each pulled raises over 12 percent since 2007, but news anchors less than 7 percent.

The worst five-year pay trends have been for online or mobile specialists, whose salaries rose, barely, 0.6 percent since 2007, and news assistants, whose salaries declined 3 percent.

Here are the current-year salaries from the survey:

Television news salaries – 2012
Average Median Minimum Maximum
News Director $99,750 $87,000 $30,000 $345,000
Assistant News Director 73,900 69,700 29,000 195,000
Managing Editor 65,400 60,000 19,000 150,000
Executive Producer 59,200 55,000 25,000 150,000
News Anchor 84,800 64,000 18,500 850,000
Weathercaster 70,500 60,000 15,000 575,000
Sports Anchor 60,000 45,000 14,000 650,000
News Reporter 38,800 32,000 16,000 300,000
Sports Reporter 38,300 31,000 18,000 130,000
Assignment Editor 40,700 38,500 18,500 100,000
News Producer 34,800 31,300 17,100 120,000
News Writer 35,300 31,500 14,000 90,000
News Assistant 27,200 24,700 13,000 75,000
Photographer 34,700 30,000 12,000 110,000
Tape Editor 32,000 28,000 13,000 90,000
Graphics Specialist 35,700 31,500 20,000 80,000
Web/Mobile Writer 34,900 34,000 17,000 75,000
Web/Mobile Prod/Ed 42,400 37,000 19,000 100,000
Art Director 75,200 70,000 30,000 125,000
Source: Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University survey

The median starting salary for a TV journalist with no previous full-time experience was $24,000 in 2011. The median starting salary for a j-school graduate (working on any platform) was $31,000 in 2011, according to a recent University of Georgia study.

Read the full survey for more data on salaries by market size and staff size, starting pay, contracts and non-competes, and radio salaries. If you really want to feel underpaid, read how much network anchors earn.

Earlier: TV station newsrooms staffed up in 2011, as print newsrooms shrank (Poynter) | TV stations now airing about 5 hours of local news per weekday (Poynter)

Related: Cable and satellite TV companies losing subscribers (Investor’s Business Daily)

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