February 12, 2013

The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ annual report on college graduates has drawn a lot of attention to journalists’ salaries in recent weeks.

During a live chat, Michigan State University’s Joe Grimm addressed the study and offered strategies for helping journalists negotiate for better salaries.

Many journalists have objected to the NACE study, which found that the average starting salary for journalism-school grads is now $41,000; that average includes grads working inside newsrooms and outside the field — in law offices, PR agencies or anywhere else that seeks their skills. The average starting salary for journalism grads in newsrooms may be substantially lower, while working outside the field may net higher compensation. For instance, an annual study by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication found a median salary of $31,000 for recent grads. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, meanwhile, has its own stats on journalists’ salaries.

As Grimm recently wrote, averages rarely tell the whole story. There are a lot of reasons why some journalists’ salaries are higher than others — including geographic location, experience levels, and the job candidate’s negotiating skills.

During the chat, Grimm drew upon his experience as a longtime newsroom recruiter and offered strategies for negotiating. You can replay the chat here:

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As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website, Poynter.org, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the…
Mallary Jean Tenore

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