Newscasters do more than just read teleprompters, as many movies would have you believe. These broadcast analysts, as they are commonly called, interpret and report news on cable and network television stations, the radio and a growing number of online sites. Some report national news or sports, while others do beat reports on organizations or special interests, such as saving money, medicine and health. To become a newscaster, you need a bachelor's degree in journalism and communication. But expect to work irregular hours, as developing news stories have no time restrictions. In return, you can earn an above average income.
Newscasters earned average or mean salaries of $76,370 per year as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. If you're among the highest 10 percent in income, you would make over $159,530 per year. Experience, market coverage and the size of your employer dictate salary in this profession. Expect to earn typical benefits of a paid vacation, medical insurance and a retirement savings plan if you work full-time.
Salaries for newscasters can vary significantly by industry. In 2011, they earned some of the highest average salaries -- $89,840 per year -- working in the cable and subscription programming, according to the BLS. If you worked for a network television or radio station, you would make $79,560 annually. Working for a college or university station would earn you $61,710 per year. Jobs with an independent or online news agency, which are classified as other information services, would pay an average of $46,150 annually, notes the BLS.
The dream for most newscasters is to eventually work in major markets where salaries are typically higher. First you'll have to develop your skills in the smaller markets. All told, the top-paying metropolitan areas for newscasters are Miami, Orlando and Boston, according to the BLS, at $140,120, $136,100 and $131,680 per year, respectively. Those in the New York City area made $95,250 per year. If you work in a smaller market such as Madison, Wisconsin, you would earn $57,901, the BLS reports.
Jobs for broadcast news analysts, including all newscasters, are expected to decline 8 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. The normal growth rate for all occupations is 14 percent. This reduction in broadcasting jobs is largely attributed to consolidations among news stations and broadcasting companies. Consequently, fewer newscasters are needed to report the news. Some of the job losses will be offset by broadcasters reporting the news online or via podcasts.
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