Quick, curious, honest, intelligent and courageous are some of the many words the public uses to describe newscasters, particularly their favorites. These are also the qualities that make a successful anchorwoman. It can take years to gain the experience and refine the skills to make it to that center chair, but it’s often worth the wait. The only real drawback is the disparity in pay. Women tend to earn less than men in this position.
In 2012, reporters and correspondents averaged $45,120 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bottom 10 percent of earners made less than $20,770, while the top 10 percent earned more than $78,530 annually. But these figures reflect the salaries of all journalists, regardless of news outlet. A survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association provides a clearer picture of what anchors earn. As of 2012, news anchors earned an average of $84,800, and sports anchors averaged closer to $60,000.
On average, newswomen earn roughly 16 percent less than their male counterparts, explains Vernon Stone, professor emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism. The disparity is even greater for news anchors, with women earning 35 percent less than men. However, the reason isn’t as cut and dry as gender, though it does play a role. Generally, the average age of anchorwomen is younger than that of anchormen, so the disparity may at least partly be due to experience.
Of the top 10 highest paid news anchors, just three are women. As of 2012, Diane Sawyer was the highest-paid anchorwoman, earning $12 million a year for her work on ABC World News. A distant second was Robin Roberts, earning half the paycheck as Sawyer, with $6 million a year for Good Morning America. The third highest-paid anchorwoman was Nancy Grace, earning $3 million a year for her show on HLN. Matt Lauer, on the other hand, earned $21.5 million, while Bill O’Reilly brought home $15 million.
From 2010 to 2020, employment for journalists will decline by 8 percent, reports the BLS. This is far different than the outlook for all U.S. occupations, with a projected growth of 14 percent. As news organizations continue to consolidate and merge as a result of declining viewership, they don’t need as much staff, so people lose jobs. Even news anchors are cut when two news outlets consolidate their resources. Expect strong competition for available positions, especially in larger markets where pay is often higher.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Reporters, Correspondents and Broadcast News Analysts
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Reporters and Correspondents
- Radio Television Digital News Association: 2012 TV and Radio News Staffing and Profitability Survey
- Missouri School of Journalism: Gender Gaps and Factors in Television News Salaries
- TV Newser: Top 10 Highest Paid News Anchors
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images