For the first time in 15 years, people working in local TV news have started making less money than they did the year previously. According to the annual RTNDA/Hofstra University survey, overall salaries fell about 4.4% in 2008 – and if you factor inflation into the mix, the survey says real wages fell by 8.2%.
The positions that took the biggest hits were those of reporter (13.3% drop), news anchor (-11.5%), weathercaster (-9.1%) and sports anchor (-8.9%). Only assignment editor and art director salaries held steady.
The picture varies by market and newsroom staff size, but the overall salary drops are hardly unexpected in the current economic environment.
What the survey does not reveal is the salary picture for entry level positions. According to the University of Georgia’s 2007 Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communication Graduates, TV news salaries for recent grads had been slowly improving in recent years, though salaries were down slightly for 2007 from 2006.
The 2008 survey should be released in early August and it will be interesting to see if those starter jobs are again losing ground when it comes to pay.