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Salary for News Editor

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Salary for News Editor
on Aug 23, 2007 at 5:51:54 pm


I am moving to a new location and have found an opening for an Evening News Video Editor (full time + benefits). One of the things they request is how much you expect to get paid. I've spend my entire career as an editor in the corporate/industrial world, and don't have the slightest as to what a "typical news video editor" makes. The job is in a fairly small market in Virginia, so it's like it's LA or NYC or something. I know this is a broad question, but does anyone have any insight as to what someone in this position might be paid? I'm just guessing here, but I think it somewhere along the lines of $35-50K, depending on skill level, years in the business, etc. Any other guesses?


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Salary for News Editor
on Aug 23, 2007 at 7:41:31 pm

Hi Nate...

It's going to depend on what that market is exactly, but I suspect your salary guess might be a little high.

You said it was a "fairly small market," and not "LA or NYC"... but that's still a fairly wide range.

Do you know what the DMA is exactly? If you don't, you can look it up here...

In my city, which is Huntsville, Alabama (and happens to be DMA #84) your estimated salary range is probably in the ballpark (although I seriously doubt any news editors here make $50K). It's been a while since I've been in the broadcast business, but my film production company does have several network TV stations as clients, so I think I can make an educated guess. I'd say in my particular market here, you're probably looking at $25K-$35K. It largely depends on the station and the owners. Here, the CBS station has a reputation for paying relatively well (they were a New York Times station until a recent sale), and there are guys and gals in the news department (shooters, producers, editors, on-air talent) that have been there 20+ years and are paid accordingly. Conversely, the ABC station here pays people dirt, practically has a revolving door in the news department, and it'd be surprising to find any employee who has been there more than a year (6 months would be more like it).

Obviously, the bigger the market, the better the pay (and the smaller, the worse). When you get up in the top 30-40 markets, an editor can expect a pretty decent salary, especially if it is a network station with a large staff in a competitive news market... it might even be a union job, depending on the particular station and market.

On the other end of the spectrum, if it is a very small market (say, DMA 100+), a mom-and-pop station, say Fox instead of one of the big three, in a city that only has a couple of stations and the news market isn't very competitive, then unfotunately a news editor is probably going to be little more than a minimum-wage job, populated by kids trying to "get in the business."

I don't know where exactly you are talking about, but unfortunately I think most of the markets in Virginia are relatively smallish... the Hampton Roads market is in the 40s, which is decent sized... but I think the next biggest market will be Richmond... which is in the 90s and that's beginning to get into small-market territory.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Re: Salary for News Editor
on Aug 30, 2007 at 1:49:26 pm

I have to agree with Todd, you might be thinkin' a bit to high of salary range. Especially if the DMA for your market is 100+. My DMA market is in the 150-160's and the News Editors we have are roughly earning $20,000 to $30,000; depending on talent, experience, education.

Most of the news staff we have are fresh out of college and this is their first paying job in the TV. Although these newbies are green, they cut their teeth in these small markets before fine-tuning their skills and moving onto bigger, better things. (I know of several reporter and photographer friends who have climbed the Market Ladder and now are anchors, reporters, and photographers in in top 40 markets.)

But on the otherhand, small markets are a great place to learn other skills that will expand your talents. All of our editors know how to shoot news stories, write VOs and VoSOTs, run cameras and audio for multi-camera live shots, become voice talent for commercials and promotions and assist in other duties (like cheap actors in commercials). This learning other skills has promoted editors to producers and producers to reporters.

Heck, I started as a Part-time Editor/Photog at my first station. Learned how to shoot and developed an eye for great shots and then got a job as a FT News Photographer at a bigger market. Did that for a year and when I wasn't shooting news packages, I sat with Promotions and learned graphic design and effects. Which lead to me getting a job as a Creative Service Producer making commercials for local business.
Because I worked in smaller DMA markets stations, I am well versed in lots of different categories of TV and different software/hardware. (Which comes in real handy when you are trying to get get logos that were created in photoshop to work with your news ticker software.)

Sorry, guess I got to rambling a bit. But what smaller TV stations lack in pay they make up in more opportunities to learn other skills and other departments. Just don't be too shocked when the salary issues comes up in the interview and starting pay is $10/hr for the position.

One other note, look at where the tv station stands in competition with the other tv stations in that market. If its leading in that market, chances are they understand the value of hiring talented professionals and compensating them so that their station stays #1.

Hope this helps,

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alan farris
Re: Salary for News Editor
on Jan 26, 2008 at 4:00:19 am

Nate, hope your sitting down for this. Im in the top 40 market (37-40) Competitive starting rate for an editor with 1 yr exp is 20k.... very lousy if you ask me. Its completely different in the post production world. In the news world editors are the bottom of the barrel.

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