The Top Paying Media Jobs
High-profile media jobs often can pay salaries well into six figures or more. However, these jobs are the exception to the rule. Media is a broad term, and jobs that fit under that umbrella generally fall into the categories of news, arts and entertainment, or public relations. The highest paying jobs typically are the ones that take place in the national spotlight or in the largest markets. These jobs are rare, and most opportunities will be found in smaller markets. So, while it's possible to sign a multimillion-dollar contract as a network news anchor, top pay for such a position in most markets is going to be closer to $100,000.
A person in this position is in charge of the editorial content for a newspaper or magazine or perhaps oversees a book publishing imprint. Bonnie Fuller, who used to head US Weekly and Star Magazine was making a reported $1.5 million in her job at Star, which is not unusual for such a high-profile publication based out of a large market like New York or Los Angeles.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for editors in 2017 was $58,770 (the most recent available as of January 2019), and only 10 percent of those in the position earned more than about $90,000. So, if you're running a publication in a medium-sized market or larger at something less than a major national publication, it's reasonable to expect pay in the neighborhood of six figures.
Like media itself, this covers a broad range of responsibilities, including overseeing the visuals for magazines or book jackets. There also are positions available in arts and entertainment and in various forms of public relations. It's a creative position that requires visualizing how to design something appealing on a canvas of a specific size, such as posters and book and magazine covers.
BLS reports that as of 2017, the median salary for art directors in the motion picture and video industries is $112,800. For those in advertising, public relations and other specialized design services, it is $95,000, and for those working for publications, it is about $81,000. Those doing high-profile work in the largest markets can expect to earn significantly more than the reported median salary.
Producers who work behind the scenes at major network news shows like "Dateline" make well into the six figures. In general, television remains a more lucrative medium than print when it comes to salaries, but the title of producer can apply to radio, film, theater, and other industries. In general, anyone who is overseeing productions in any media can be called a producer.
Like other industries, those in high-profile roles can make into the millions for producing a major film or a Broadway show. Media salaries, according to BLS, are more modest: about $90,000 in public relations, about $87,000 for smaller films, just shy of $60,000 for local radio and television, and the same for performing arts, spectator sports, and other related industries.
TV News Anchor
When Katie Couric was hired to anchor the CBS Evening News, she signed a contract for $15 million annually, but the number of similar positions available can be counted on your fingers. Most anchor jobs are found on local television news broadcasts, and BLS reports that the median salary for such jobs is around $60,000.
The variation from market to market is significant, though. Someone anchoring the local news in Tacoma, Wash., will not be making nearly as much money as someone at the news desk in New York City or Los Angeles.
Director of Publicity
A senior-level publicity position, likely working in book publishing, can net someone from $70,000 to more than $100,000, according to BLS. Again, the higher salaries come with being in a bigger market and at a bigger imprint.