Entertainment Jobs Q&A – How Much Do TV Reporters Make?

entertainment jobs tv reporter

Salaries start low for beginning TV reporters, but as they advance to larger markets it’s a career that can be quite profitable

The Golden Globes are in the rear view mirror and the only thing that was truly surprising was how witty a retort Gabourey Sidibe gave to the trolls on Twitter mocking her weight and choice of outfit for the evening.

If you haven’t heard, after being critiqued on Twitter by family reunion comedians (i.e. only their relatives think they are funny), she responded: “To people making mean comments about my GG pics, I mos def cried about it on that private jet on my way to my dream job last night.”

Tip of the hat to the ‘Precious’ star.

In this weeks Entertainment Jobs Q&A Bobby wants to know about the salaries for TV reporters and Sandra is curious when her son should start doing internships – sounds like some meaty stuff.

We’re going to dig deep into those issues and if you want your question answered in our weekly Entertainment Jobs Q&A column ask through our LinkedIn group, comment on this here blog, email into our customer support, or send us a note on Twitter… we’ll receive and respond, and then every Friday we’ll pick the best and publish them.

Alright, let’s get this Entertainment Jobs Q&A rolling with Bobby:

The Q:

I’m just curious – how much do TV reporters make? – Bobby

The A:

Bobby – Salary questions are always tough because it’s hard to paint with a broad brush, so much depends on location and experience – plus in some areas $75,000/year goes a long way, while in others that barely pays for rent.

I’m not wimping out on your question though, so here’s some greater detail for you.

There are 215 TV markets or DMA’s (Designated Market Areas) ranging from New York City to Glendive, Montana. For most TV reporters just starting out you can expect them to be in the market 150-215 range.

In these spots, news directors are hiring based purely on potential, and often make mistakes (Link is NSFW – but always funny). Most of these reporters have short-term deals, maybe a year, so either the station can get rid of them if they are no good, or if they are good they can climb the market ladder rather quickly without being encumbered by a longer deal.

entertainment jobs tv reporter

Starting out in a small market is a stepping stone to bigger things. It’s part of paying your dues as a TV reporter.

These jobs do not pay much, but again, they are a stepping stone and generally speaking in a small town market, that may not be all that expensive to live in the first place.

The goal of TV news reporters is to cut the market in half with each new opportunity, so for example, if you started out in market 180, your next goal would be market 90 or higher.

That’s a big jump, and also a big jump in pay. Jobs in top 100 market starts to get pretty decent money, a higher profile, and greater opportunity for speaking engagements, guest appearances and other supplemental income.

The veterans in the business, we’re talking top 25 market, that’s another story, they do quite well for themselves. Again it ranges, I’ve known some making 135k and others making 400k – but they’ve earned it and worked hard at honing their craft.

It is not an easy road, it requires a great deal of moving early in a career, long hours and really hard work – but there is a high ceiling if you have talent.

The Q:

I was wondering when you think a person should begin doing internships in college. My son is in his first year of college and was wondering if that is to soon? – Sandra

Sandra- it’s a great question. My general philosophy is do as many internships as you possibly can while in college..but there will be some roadblocks.

entertainment jobs internships

If you want a real career after college you better start interning… now!

Some employers only want juniors or seniors as interns, others may say you have to be receiving college credit to apply and most colleges will only give credit for one internship experience. That makes choosing the right internship extremely important, I did three in college and two of them were terrible – I wish I had done more research and sought the advice of others which may have lead to three good internships instead of one.

Enough about me – let’s talk about alternative ways to gain experience if internships may be restrictive for your son.

Have him get involved in everything possible on campus. If he wants to work in TV get started at the campus TV station immediately, he’ll learn incredibly valuable skills that are akin to real world stations. I’m amazed with some of the quality coming out of campus TV stations nowadays.

Same for the radio station, theater, music department – wherever his passion is, get involved immediately. Colleges and Universities have many underused programs that are right there at a students fingertips, your son shouldn’t limit himself to just internships when there is a whole world of opportunities on campus.

Again, I’m not saying don’t do internships, that’s crazy talk I love the experience gained during internships, these ideas are in addition to internships.

Begin networking with professors, they have valuable contacts, know of associations and conferences he can get involved in and can connect him with alumni.

entertainment jobs interning on the late show

Zach Perlinski interned on the Late Show with David Letterman before landing a job with Oprah Winfrey’s production company after college.

Which brings me to job shadowing – it’s never too early to start finding people in the industry he admires and asking to job shadow them for a day. Walking next to someone as they go through their real world routine is pretty exciting and much can be learned.

Start with alumni, they are always more likely to say yes to someone that comes from their Alma Mater.

If his school allows for multiple internships, have him go for it, do as many as he possibly can, but if he’s limited by what he can get college credit for, these are some alternative ideas that can help gain experience outside the classroom.

That’s it for this week – if you have other ideas for any of these questions, put them in the comments below. And if you have a question you’d like us to answer for next weeks Entertainment Jobs Q&A you can add it to the comments as well!

We respond to everyone, but we’ll highlight the best in our weekly Friday column.

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.