Poll: US business reporters earn more than peers

June 15, 2022

Business reporters in the United States earn nearly $ 18,000, or 37 percent, more than their peers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

The Reynolds Center relaunched its annual business journalist salary survey, last published in 2012, and this year expanded the survey to include demographics. One of the survey’s long-term goals is to promote the attractiveness of a career in business journalism among high school and college students to help diversify business news and better represent the communities it serves.

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In general, news analysts, reporters and reporters earn $ 48,370 per year, according to the most recent median data published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 63.9% of surveyed business journalists who declared their position as reporter / correspondent, the median annual salary was $ 66,204, well above the median salary for a reporter. In addition to boasting higher pay, business reporters reported specializing in a wide range of topics, from common rhythms such as markets, real estate, restaurants, and the local economy to lesser-known areas, such as state budgets, energy, sports, aerospace. and even reports on the cannabis industry.

“The news industry has had a tough few decades, but business news it is more important than ever and, in a world of supply chain disruptions and inflation, it impacts us all. We need smart and experienced business journalists to help us navigate this complex world, ”said Jeffrey Timmermans, Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism Practice and Director of the Reynolds Center.

Graph showing the average annual salary for corporate journalists and editors

“Plus, there are tons of great jobs in business journalism right now, and as our survey shows, they pay better than typical journalism jobs,” Timmermans said.

The Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) provided key support for this survey by distributing it to its members.

“SABEW is encouraged by competitive salaries for business journalists who play an important role in providing a comprehensive account of economic events,” said Kathleen Graham, executive director of SABEW. “We are grateful to the Reynolds Center for comparing industry demographics and wages. The survey findings reflect the continuing need to mentor, recruit, retain and promote diversity in editorial and corporate coverage. Closing the gender pay gap, increasing the number of black journalists and promoting inclusive editorial cultures remains a top priority for the largest association of business journalists. “

Over half of the interviewees, 53%, identified themselves as women, demonstrating a strong representation of women in corporate journalism. Unfortunately, the median salary for reporters / correspondents lagged behind men by $ 9,167, with women earning $ 62,498 compared to $ 71,665 for men. This pay gap persists in senior executive and managerial positions, with female editors or managers earning an average of $ 79,996 compared to $ 101,997 for men. A combined median income for editors and managers in corporate reporting was reported at $ 98,331. However, when comparing salary against years of experience, women earned a higher salary in less time on the job, showing that the gender pay gap could narrow in the years to come.

Graph showing the average years of experience versus the annual salary of male and female business journalists

“There has been some improvement on the gender front, but there is still a long way to go to reduce the wage gap. Overall, the lack of diversity in business journalism continues to be a serious problem, “said Timmermans.” We need a body of business journalists that truly reflects the community they serve – it’s essential to making business journalism relevant to the widest possible audience “.

A total of 236 journalists from 36 states responded to the survey, which was conducted between May 13 and 25. Just over half of respondents reported from six states: New York (17.4%), California (8.5%), Florida (7.6%), Washington (7.2%), Texas (6.4 %) and Michigan (4.7%).

Respondents ranged in age from 18–24 (9.8%), 25–34 (35.6%), 35–44 (19.5%), 45–54 (16.1%) and over 55 years old (18.2%), with an average of 12.2 years of work as a business journalist. Most journalists (91.6%) said they worked for print / digital publications, while the rest worked for network, television, radio or other media services, including freelancers.

The racial background of the respondents was 80.8% white, 4.7% black, 5.5% Asian / Pacific island, and 4.7% multiracial.

The Reynolds Center reached out to business reporters across the country from major publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, New York Times, and Bloomberg News, as well as smaller regional newspapers and media organizations, including each of American City Business’s 42 publications. Diaries. Additionally, the Reynolds Center has partnered with SABEW to invite its more than 2,500 members to attend.

The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism was established in 2003 with the aim of improving the quality of media coverage of businesses and the economy. The Reynolds Center is housed within Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information on the Reynolds Center salary survey, please contact: [email protected]

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