A multimedia reporter with a $120,000 salary and a $30,000-per-year bonus may be a little too happy to earn a big salary.
A new study by the Association of American Publishers found that multimedia journalism is becoming a lucrative career for journalists with a salary of more than $100,000.
A typical multimedia reporter earns more than a $140,000 yearly salary, according to the study.
The new report, titled Media Newsroom: Media, Entertainment, and the Rise of Digital Journalism, was released Wednesday.
It’s based on interviews with more than 100 multimedia journalists and news executives across the U.S. and Canada.
The study found that digital newsrooms are seeing a surge in revenue and hiring that will translate into bigger bonuses and a boost in salary for those with a multimedia career.
The report found that in 2014, the average multimedia journalist’s total compensation jumped by more than 10 percent from a year earlier to $160,000, compared to $140 and $110,000 in the previous year.
The average bonus for a multimedia journalist in 2014 was $35,000 compared to just $18,000 a year before, the report said.
The increase in salaries for multimedia journalists comes as the industry is grappling with a crisis that many believe is fueled by overregulation and declining viewership.
“In the current digital landscape, media are faced with increasing pressure from both consumers and media organizations,” said Jessica Burchard, associate professor of media studies at American University and co-author of the report.
“It’s time to rethink the way we view our jobs, what we can achieve and what we should be paying for.”
The study’s authors note that while there are more than 50 million Americans who are employed in the media sector, nearly two-thirds of them are employed as freelancers, meaning they make less than $50,000 annually.
“If you are a freelance reporter, you are working at the mercy of a media organization, which is the exact same situation that journalists in general are in,” said Burchar.
“So they are often left with no other option other than to accept a low-paying job that requires little training or experience.”
While the report found many freelancers are being forced to leave their traditional jobs due to overwork, the majority of those who are leaving work in their current jobs say they would like to be more involved in journalism, such as helping with social media or even contributing to journalism projects.
“They want to get involved in the news and have a hand in the process,” said Elizabeth Hirsch, an associate professor in media studies and director of the Center for the Study of Media, Society and Governance at AmericanUniversity.
“And they want to be able to pay their bills.”
In fact, about 30 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to leave a traditional media career if it meant getting paid a higher salary, the survey found.
However, some are not satisfied with the money they’re being paid, and some are making decisions to quit.
“There is a certain sense of entitlement that they’re seeing,” said Hirsch.
“I would hope they could see that there is more to journalism than just making money.
It takes a lot of hard work.”
The report notes that freelancers may also have to look elsewhere to find work.
“The digital media environment has been a great fit for many of them,” said the report’s authors.
“They see a lot more of a demand from viewers than before.
So they’re finding jobs elsewhere, too.”
For more from APMAs Media News Room, click here.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York