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2010 saw increases in local TV news salaries, says survey

There was a bit of good news in local television newsrooms around the country last year with salaries seeing a significant increase, according to the latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey.

News salaries climbed in TV newsrooms in 2010 by 7.3 percent following two muddled years that saw a decline of 4.4 percent in 2008 and a modest 2.5 percent increase in 2009.

The survey, conducted by Bob Papper, a professor of journalism, media studies and public relations at Hofstra University, found the average local television news director salary was $95,600, while the average salary for a local news anchor was $90,500. The two positions diverged dramatically on the high end with the maximum local news director salary coming in at $300,000 and top local anchor salary reaching $737,500. The survey also presented data on median salaries, with the local news director salary reaching $82,000 and the local news anchor salary was $70,000.

In all, the survey presented data on salaries for 19 local TV news positions, including executive producers, weathercasters, sports reporters, tape editors and photographers. According to an article on the RTDNA website by Papper explaining the findings, all salaries went up with the exception of two positions, graphics specialist and art director.

Papper also presented five and 10-year salary comparisons for each of the local TV news positions. The median local TV news director salary has seen an increase of more than 23 percent since 2001, while the same figure for local news anchors has grown almost 47.5 percent.

Market size also played a role in compensation. For example, the median salary of local TV news directors in the top 25 markets was $168,000, while the same median salary for those in the smallest of markets, beginning with market No. 150, was $56,000.