Local newscasters inform residents about the latest sports, weather, business and events taking place in their cities. They interview local athletes, executives and politicians and then edit their stories to fit their allotted time slots on radio or television. If you can provide your own unique spin on something as mundane as a strawberry festival -- and interest a lot of people simultaneously -- you might have what it takes to be a local newscaster. You'll need to get a bachelor's degree in journalism. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging between $30,000 and $40,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
The average annual salary for a local newscaster was $35,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. To work in this field, you need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications, including at least a semester or two as an intern reporter. Most news stations prefer hiring candidates who've had at least some exposure to the profession while in college. Other essential qualities for this job are persistence, stamina, objectivity and people and communication skills.
Salary by Region
In 2013, average salaries for local newscasters varied significantly only in the South, according to Simply Hired, where they earned the highest salaries of $55,000 in Washington, D.C., and the lowest of $27,000 in Mississippi. Those in the Northeast made $32,000 to $43,000 per year in Maine and Massachusetts, respectively. If you worked as a local newscaster in the West, you'd earn the highest salary of $40,000 in California or Alaska, or the lowest of $28,000 in Montana. In the Midwest, you'd earn the most in Illinois or Minnesota, or the least in South Dakota -- $37,000 or $27,000, respectively.
Many local newscasters start out working in smaller cities and then apply for jobs with news stations in larger cities once they gain experience. As a local newscaster, a move to a larger city may dramatically increase your income. You'd need to weigh the extra earnings against higher living and housing costs common in larger cities such as Boston, New York City and Minneapolis. Then you'd know if you could enjoy the same living standard. For example, if you earned $35,000 in Beaumont, Texas, as a local newscaster, you'd need to make $49,840 in Boston to maintain your living standard, according to CNN Money. In Minneapolis, you'd need to earn $40,155 -- or about 15 percent more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8-percent decline in jobs for reporters and correspondents, including those who report local news, through 2020 -- significantly below the 14-percent growth rate for all jobs. A consolidation among news organizations, including local ones, may contribute to fewer jobs for local newscasters. Local television and radio stations also have only a limited number of positions available, as newscasters tend to stay in positions until they get jobs in other markets. As a local newscaster, you may find more opportunities if you get experience as an analyst rather than strictly reporting the news, according to the BLS.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Reporter, Correspondent, or Broadcast News Analyst
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Reporters and Correspondents
- Simply Hired: Average Local News Reporter Salaries
- CNN Money: Cost of Living: How Far Will My Salary Go In Another City?
- Simply Hired: Average Local News Reporter Salaries in ME, NY and MA
- Simply Hired: Average Local News Reporter Salaries in MT, AK and CA
- Simply Hired: Average Local News Reporter Salaries in MS and DC
- Simply Hired: Average Local News Reporter Salaries in SD, IL and MN
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images