By the Numbers: Median Writer and Reporter Wages by State

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UPDATE: This piece was updated to reflect the fact that BLS’ data is based on median, not average, wages. 

This week’s news that the median net worth for American families had fallen to the same level as the early 1990′s got us thinking about how journalists and writers are faring in this economy. We examined state by state data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on median wages for writers/authors and reporters/correspondents (a somewhat murky distinction, since those titles are self-reported).

Here’s how journalist wages compare to the national median ($49,192) for writers/authors by state:

Given the higher cost of living on the coasts, it’s not surprising to see higher-than-average wages in those areas.

But when we look at nationwide median wages ($33,636) for reporters/correspondents, the picture shifts a bit:

Still higher pay in the Northeast, but pay rates on the West Coast are only slightly higher than the national median for reporters/correspondents. Given the higher cost of living, a journalist might be better off moving to Georgia (12% higher than the median) or Colorado (11% higher) from California (only 15% above the national median for reporters). Also attractive for journalists: Alaska (14% higher) and Arizona (17% higher).

We also looked up state by state data, comparing what reporters make with the overall figures for workers in their state:

Florida reporters make 36% more than the median Floridian. That’s followed by Rhode Island (25%), Massachusetts (23%), Delaware (22%) and Georgia (19%). Puerto Rico, not pictured on the map, is actually tops with reporters making 54% more than the median wage.

Where do journalists get the short end of the stick? Wyoming, for one, where they make 34% less than the median state wage. Nebraska (-27%), Maryland (-24%), Iowa (-22%) and North Dakota (-17%) round out the bottom of the list.

Why the discrepancies? Your guesses are as good as ours: the financial strength of local media, shortage or glut of qualified reporters, cultural values about the importance of journalism. All seem like candidates.

Ebyline is hiring: Freelancer Development Manager

We’re seeking a seasoned media executive/journalist to lead our content strategy and freelancer development efforts. This is a great position for someone who collaborates with freelance writers and the journalist community, and has a point of view on the future of journalism. Read more here, check out other job opportunities here, or read more about our company here.

Jobs of the Day: Digital Producer APM, Health Reporter Wall St. Journal, Video Producer in Kenya

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From Wall Street to the streets of Kenya, today’s job posts go global. We have digital media jobs for American Public Media, as well as health and financial reporting gigs in the Big Apple. For those of you who want to break into foreign reporting, there are several openings at the Nation Media Group in Kenya. Ready for your adventure? This is it.

Here are Ebyline’s Jobs of the day:

Health Reporter – Wall Street Journal

The New York Health & Science group is looking for an experienced news hound to join its corporate reporting team, helping cover the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. These industries are facing enormous challenges, including looming patent expirations, the need to find growth amid a tough regulatory environment, and increasing pressures to reduce health-care costs while better serving patient needs. The ideal candidate will have a proven ability to get inside companies and break news, and the vision to see events in a larger context and write compelling, enterprising stories that keep us ahead of the curve. The job also requires the ability to translate complex medical and scientific subjects for the lay reader. Prior experience with medicine and science isn’t required, but a fascination with the subject and willingness to learn is essential. Interested parties should contact Stefanie Ilgenfritz, Health & Science bureau chief.

Staff Writer – Daily Comet
Seeking staff writer to cover cops, fire, courts and related topics in Lafourche Parish, La.

We’re looking for someone with enterprise and talent to write both breaking news and in-depth stories. Qualified job applicants will have a strong hard-news background and the ability to dig for hard-hitting stories, root out corruption and other problems and write about solutions.

You must possess the ability to think critically and take on the tough stories while maintaining professionalism and compassion. A sense of humor is a must, as is the ability to learn how to spell names like Boudreaux and Thibodaux. For this beat, we’re looking for someone able to craft stories, not just on the mechanics of public safety and legal justice, but on the people and communities affected.

Feature writers need not apply.

Associate Digital Producer – American Public Media

The Associate Digital Producer is part of a group of Web producers & designers that serves the marketing, corporate communications & revenue-generating areas of the organization including Underwriting, Commerce, & Membership/Development.
At this point the position is temporary with undetermined end date. The position has flexible hours, usually ranging from 20 – 30 hours a week but occasionally more, especially during the fall & holiday seasons.
- Sets up & tracks email campaigns on external email provider systems
- Compiles emailings from provided materials
- Maintains & updates information on a variety of web sites
- Produces online ads within established guidelines
- Maintains presence in external social networking sites
- Checks work for meeting established HTML standards & browser compatibility requirements.
- Identifies & reports production problems & assists with solutions.
- Create digital assets — images & text
- Compile assets from various sources for digital distribution
- Assist in the production of special features & projects

St. Paul, MN

Financial Services Editor – Dow Jones Newswires

Dow Jones Newswires is seeking an experienced editor to manage a dedicated group of U.S. reporters covering the financial services industry . Candidates should have proven experience in real-time financial journalism, strong writing skills and a keen eye for finding news in the investment banks, commercial banks, insurance, hedge funds and consumer finance industries. Experience managing a dynamic group of journalists and article writers is desirable as is the ability to balance breaking news stories with big-picture thematic pieces. The team writes for Dow Jones Newswires as well as the online and print editions of The Wall Street Journal.

Applicants should attach a resume, cover letter and three to five clips to the application. The position is based in New York City.

Online Video Producer -Nation Media Group (Kenya)

These position falls vacant within the Editorial Department. The candidates should have good understanding of new media, proven writing, editing, and web production abilities and sound knowledge of current affairs. He/She should also be innovative, analytical and adaptable to fast-changing news and technology realities and work under tight deadlines.

Key responsibilities and duties:
-Gatekeeper for video standards for multimedia storytelling on web and mobile.
-Checking and correcting editorial products for facts, accuracy, taste, house- style, language use, clarity and balance to conform to NMG Editorial
Policy;
-Ensure NMG content is properly projected on digital platforms, including SEO.
-Ensuring timely publishing to digital platforms;
-Social media engagement.

Via Journalism Jobs, International Journalists’ Network

Five Tips to Help Freelance Writers Stress Story Value in Pitches

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Resumes and pitch letters have a lot in common. For freelance writers, a well-written pitch letter with a solid story idea yields a writing assignment. And a tight and terse resume that successfully sells a job candidate results in a job interview. The critical common ingredient in both successful pitch letters and resumes is value – the power-packed word that means importance, usefulness, relevance and significance.

Resumes and pitch letters that fail to communicate value within seconds are trashed.

Successful freelance writers who consistently score writing jobs have learned how to persuasively stress the value of the content they’re trying to sell in their pitch letters. Embellished with carefully chosen sentences, practically every phrase drives home the value of the story the writer proposes.

Here are five tips that can help you focus on and stress value in every pitch letter you write:

1. Understand market. Heading the list is knowledge of the market’s demographics.  Before you can think about writing a pitch letter, find  the answers to these questions: Who are the readers (age, sex,  education), and what kind of information do they want? Rather than skim a couple of articles,  read several so that you have a strong feeling for content.  Get a sense of the publication’s editorial mission and philosophy.   If it’s an online magazine or newsletter, the “About” page ought to explain it.  Many mission statements also provide information about  the publication’s readers.

2. Topic relevance. Will the subject immediately draw readers?  Once the market niche is understood,  search for stories that are specific – I stress specific — to this market.  If you find yourself justifying a story’s relevance, abort and find another story. There should be no doubt about a topic’s relevance.  Check to see if topic was covered before.  If it’s a popular topic, there’s a good chance that it was already written about.  But that doesn’t mean your story isn’t viable. The topic could have been covered two years ago; or it may be so broad or complex, there are several angles, all of which are important.  Along with making a strong case for your story, you’ll also score points with your editor. He or she will appreciate the fact that you did your homework.  And if the topic was covered, you’ve positioned the story so that it’s fresh and new.

3. Timeliness. The more timely and relevant the subject matter the better. What with readers’ bombarded with information from countless vehicles,  information must be fresh and offer new insights.   The timeliness of a story can’t be stressed enough, especially if there are several competing publications in the market.  The Internet explosion has created content wars, and virtually every editor is hungry for timely stories.  When I edited newspapers and online news sites, my best writers understood the impact of timely stories.  My freelancers knew that breaking news stories were the best and fastest ways to win immediate points.
4. Benefit. In some way, readers ought to benefit from the information the writer is imparting.  Regardless of the market, story pitches must spotlight the story’s importance for readers.  In how-to, DIY, and self-help publications, online or print, the benefit for readers is particularly important.

5. Advice. Great information is valuable by itself. But the topper is leaving readers with a takeaway – helpful, easy-to-implement advice or tips they can use or adapt.  The advice section, which usually falls at the end of a story, is vitally important because it not only summarizes and ties the story together, but it also tells readers  how to apply  the information and where to learn more.

BONUS: A powerful working head  

Finally, the selling topper – the icing on the proverbial cake – is a strong, provocative head that immediately piques an editor’s interest. More likely than not, the editor will change it (Most editors, including myself, are obsessive about coming up with power-packed heads that instantly snare readers).  Most importantly,  the working head must capture the story’s essence. Coming up with great heads isn’t easy. But they’re worth the effort, because it tells editors that you’ve worked hard to deliver a strong, substantial, and well-conceived story pitch.

Jobs of the Day: NPR Tech Reporter, Wine Journalist, Reuters Bureau Chief, Entertainment Blogger

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Want a new journalism job? Sure you do! We’ve been combing the interwebs today to provide you with new journalism and media opportunities. Today, we have some jobs for techies, entertainment junkies, and lovers of the good life. Whether you’re interested in heading up a news bureau or drinking wine for a living, we’ve got some sweet opportunities on our Jobs of the Day:

Reuters, Bureau Chief, U.S. Southeast & Caribbean – Miami
Reuters is looking for a superb writer and manager to run the Southeastern United States and Caribbean, one of the busiest regions in the world for general news stories that are of importance to clients across the asset classes. From covering hurricanes and earthquakes to space missions, Koran-burning pastors and international fraudsters, the southeast U.S. and Caribbean beat offers one of the most varied and busy files in Reuters Americas, including fast-breaking spot news and opportunities for “deep-dive” investigative stories. In “Sunshine State” Florida, huge wealth, high finance and financial fraud often go hand in hand and in recent years the territory has loomed large in some of the world’s biggest and most notorious fraud scandals — Bernard Madoff’s victims included many of his Palm Beach neighbors, while Texas billionaire Allen Stanford is accused of using Florida and the Caribbean island of Antigua as hubs for the $7 billion Ponzi scheme he was charged with operating. Florida is also a key political swing state in what is already shaping up to be a hard-fought 2012 U.S. presidential election. Miami’s varied file includes covering political developments and natural disasters in a string of Caribbean states from Cuba and to Trinidad and Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was Reuters Story of the Year. The bureau oversees the file from Cuba where the cautious reforms and advancing age of the leaders of the Cuban Revolution is setting up one of the most fascinating international political stories in decades.

 

Reporter/Correspondent, Business-National Desk

The National Desk is seeking a Reporter/Correspondent to cover technology from Silicon Valley. This is a high profile business reporting position that will focus on information technology, innovation and the Internet. The successful candidate will cover globally influential companies based in Silicon Valley and will report on the myriad ways technology affects the US economy and its citizens. The successful candidate will develop sources inside and outside of the industry and is expected to produce stories as well about privacy, social media, venture capital and cyber-security. A thorough knowledge of technology and high level reporting and storytelling skills are essential. Radio experience and a proven track record in covering technology are strongly preferred. The selected candidate will report on air for NPR shows and newscast segments, and online for NPR.org.

Wine Industry Journalist

Wines & Vines, a leading wine industry magazine based in San Rafael, Calif., seeks an experienced journalist and technical writer to fill a full-time staff writer position in our office. We need a self-starting, team-playing reporter who knows and loves the wine industry, to write business news, product news, lead our social media writing efforts, and most importantly research and write in-depth technical articles on winery and vineyard equipment and processes. For monthly print magazine, daily news website and digital editions.

The ideal candidate has a bachelor’s degree or more, at least five years of journalism experience, and a scientific/engineering bent as well as excellent writing skills. He or she has also spent enough time in vineyards, wineries or industry supplier companies to understand our target readers, who work in grape and wine production. The winning candidate enjoys learning more about winery technology, enology and viticulture.(via writerjobs)

Entertainment News Writer

A multimedia entertainment news website, Hollywire.com is seeking a dedicated, pop culture savvy writer to join our team!

Qualifications:
• Journalism Degree or background
• Knowledgeable of AP Style guidelines
• Proficient in spelling, grammar, and punctuation

Ideal Candidate:
• Previous writing experience
• Dedicated
• Must be a team player
• Must be willing to drive in the LA area to attend red carpet events to take pictures and collect sound bytes for editorial content
• Must be in-the-know about Young Hollywood and all aspects of the entertainment industry

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