How to Make Money as a Journalist: Discover 9 Ways to Get Paid

Ever scoured the web for how to make money as a journalist? Or maybe you’re wondering if you can make money being a journalist which many people believe they can’t. Well, here is the fact, “you can make a lot of money being a journalist”. And am going to show you in this post.

Making money as a journalist can be an extremely challenging task. In a highly competitive industry like journalism, where news outlets are closing down every single day, it is becoming increasingly difficult to survive.

As a result, it has become increasingly common for journalists to branch out and find a way to make money in different environments. Here is a list of 9 unique ways that can help you do just that.

1. Write for Local Papers

If you want to make money as a journalist, one of your best bets is to write for local papers. There are many, many local papers in this country, and they all need area experts to write articles about their specialty.

Acting as a virtual employee for the paper, you will write articles on exciting topics. Many times, local papers are in need of individuals, which makes this an ideal way to start your journalistic career.

You can also specialize in certain topics that you know more about than most since it will be based on your own experiences. Some local newspaper topic ideas you write about include:

  • New governmental policies
  • Trending stories – stories that polarize people, cause social upheaval, or that most people are following.
  • Social issues (parenting, divorce, dating, religion, marriage, diversity, racism, etc).
  • Local contests
  • Popular product or service review
  • Opinion essays

2. Become a Freelance Journalist

The growing popularity of freelancing and citizen journalism has made it possible for anyone with an Internet connection and a passion for writing to make money as a journalist.

Many newspapers and magazines hire their own staff journalists, but others contract out their freelance services to people like you who choose to work as freelancers.

The advantages of being a freelance journalist include:

  • You’ll a lot of opportunities as every field needs freelance writers
  • There’s always something new to learn
  • You work form the comfort of your home
  • You choose when and how to work. In short, you make the rules
  • It helps you to learn how to writing in multiple ways
  • You decide what you get paid for any job offer you take

Working as a freelance journalist gives you the freedom to take on a variety of opportunities instead of specializing in one area. You will find freelance writing work in fields such as:

  • Healthcare
  • Information technology
  • Travel
  • Food and beverage
  • Business and marketing
  • Religion and politics
  • Education
  • Sports and fitness

3. Write for Web Magazines

There are always online magazines looking for writers. You can offer your writing skills and experience as a journalist to these magazines and get paid.

It is not just becoming a journalist that will enable you to make some serious bucks. Writing for web magazines has become the trend especially now since the internet has become an experience for anybody.

What is happening is that people are using this platform to publish their articles and at the same time people are browsing through these sites to know more about any topic they find interesting. This cycle has made many possibilities for journalists.

To land a good deal with an online magazine as a journalist, you need to:

  • Identify a magazine you want to write for
  • Study the submission guidelines
  • Develop a solid story idea
  • Do a little research and interview a source
  • Write a killer query letter, and pitch your story idea to an editor

While what you can earn depend on the magazine they offer different rate, some pay pretty well for each article you submit.

Below are some online magazines and the amount they pay.

  • AARP, The Magazine (aarp.org): $1/word or $1,500 per assignment
  • Alaska Beyond (alaskaairlinesmagazine.com): up to $700/article
  • The Atlantic (theatlantic.com): $150 to $1,600 depending on assignment
  • Chatelaine (chatelaine.com): $1/word or $1,500/assignment
  • Discover Magazine (discovermagazine.com): $2/word or $3,000 for a 1,500-word feature story
  • Early American Life (ealonline.com): $500 to $2,000 per assignment

4. Become a Copy Editor for Businesses and Companies

Are you an organized, detail-oriented person? Do you like to read through the information on things like legal documents, reports, and procedures?

If yes, becoming a copy editor might be able to give you the means of making money while staying on track with your plans for moving towards a career in journalism.

While working as a copy editor, your responsibilities will be:

  • Proofreading text and correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
  • Verifying factual correctness of information, such as dates and statistics
  • Checking text for style, readability, and adherence to editorial policies
  • Arranging page layouts of photos, articles, and advertisements
  • Rewriting text to improve clarity and readability

In general, copy editors are responsible for ensuring that all information presented is readable and clear. Some copy editors are also in charge of assigning headlines to stories that have been written.

A few of the copy editor skills you must have include:

  • Excellent written English, including good spelling and grammar
  • A meticulous approach to their work and an eye for detail
  • Ability to maintain high-quality work while meeting tight deadlines
  • An inquisitive mind
  • Good concentration, to focus on texts that may be lengthy or dull

Today’s copy editors generally work with sophisticated computer programs that make editing processes easier. Some of the top computer programs you can use include:

  • Grammarly.com
  • Prowritingaid.com
  • Afterthedeadline.com
  • Webspellchecker.com
  • Gingersoftware.com
  • Writer.com
  • Slickwrite.com
  • Intelligentediting.com

5. Sell Your Writing to Sites that Pay Per Piece or Word

Do you have exceptional writing talents? Do you love writing? If so, then look into getting paid for your words. Believe it or not, there are many websites where you can get paid to write about anything. Some of these sites pay per piece or word you submit. It varies.

Sites like Contena (www.contena.co/) pay per piece, while others offer a per-word rate, making it possible to earn a small income with no limit to the number of articles you create every month. You can write on popular topics, such as health care, career, investing, and current events.

Some high-paying sites you may want to work with include:

  • B. Michelle Pippin
  • The A.V. Club 
  • Bustle
  • Copyhackers
  • BestPickist
  • Freelance Mom
  • Dollar Stretcher
  • Healthy Living

Knowing where and how to start will save you time and effort—and help you make money as a journalist. For more sites, that can pay you (up to $100) per word or piece, you check out Make A Living Writing.

6. Start Your Own Blog and Monetize It

Nowadays making money as a journalist is becoming challenging but if you start your own blog, you can monetize it and make good money online. There are many blogging platforms you can easily use to set up your blog in minutes.

Many people and businesses acquire new and better tools and strategies every day to promote their brands and connect with their target audiences online. And this is where monetizing your blog comes in.

Reliable ways you can make money with your blog include:

  • Using affiliate marketing on your blog
  • Adding banner adverts to your website
  • Writing advertorials and sponsored content
  • Charging for sponsored social media posts
  • Writing guest blog posts for media outlets
  • Working with an agency to build your blog
  • Selling digital products on your blog

One of the things I love about blogging is the freedom it gives you to write about anything you like.

In addition, you’ll not be limited to any contracts or obligations where you have to follow a particular guideline or style. You can write about relationships, lifestyle, food, fitness, sex, culture, technology, or general interest news stories.

7. Work in a Radio or Television Station as a Reporter

Are you interested in making money as a journalist? Radio and television stations are always looking for reporters. Journalists are often employed by these stations to cover select stories. The ability to speak in public is an advantage. But wages vary.

If you work as a reporter in a TV station, for example, the average annual pay for a Television Reporter in the United States is $55,684 a year. And you can earn more in some states like New York, Georgia, California, Alabama, and the District of Columbia.

In a radio or television station, there are different types of jobs at a new station. You’ll have the opportunity to put your creativity to work by producing television shows, hosting a segment on your favorite show, taking pictures for a program, or being interviewed on a newscast.

Other types of jobs at a TV station you can take include:

  • News anchor
  • Producer
  • Program presenter
  • TV show host
  • News writer and editor among others

8. Work in Public Relations (PR) Firm

Getting a job in a public relations firm is one of the best ways to make money as a journalist. A public relations firm may be a private, government, or non-governmental organization. Usually, such firms hire writers on yearly tenure and pay them handsome salaries.

Along with journalism and writing skills, you should have certain qualities to make it in this field. The most important skill is the ability to write press releases and arrange events, etc., for corporates.

Basically, your responsibilities will include:

  • Writing press releases
  • Analysing media coverage
  • Planning publicity strategies 
  • Organizing media briefings and events
  • Dealing with enquiries from the public, the press, and related organisations
  • Using social networking sites to promote specific products or services
  • Organising and attending promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits

There are jobs in public relations (PR) firms where fees are typically much higher than in newspaper or magazine fashions.

9. Work as a Part-time Lecturer In a University

Do you love sharing your knowledge and are looking for how to make money as a journalist? You can make money by working as a part-time lecturer in a university.

Most universities have this job available to qualified professionals. However, they are mostly available at the universities level of the USA. If you are living elsewhere then it will be relatively more difficult to get that job.

There are only a few classes that you have to teach in a week, thus it is relatively easier to do along with whatever else you choose to do. A Ph.D. or master’s degree is required, besides the understanding of the subject that you are required to teach.

How Much Do Journalists Get Paid For an Article?

It depends on whether your work is priced per word or article. However, on average you can get paid $1,500 per article or $1 per word. For example, AARP, The Magazine (aarp.org) pays $1/word or $1,500 per article while Discover Magazine (discovermagazine.com) pays $2/word or $3,000 for a 1,500-word feature story.

FAQs

How do online journalists make money?

As an online journalist, ways you can make money include:

  • Become a freelance journalist
  • Writing for web magazines
  • Selling your wrtiting to sites that pay per word or article
  • Starting your own blog and monetizing it

How much do journalists make?

On average, the wage for a journalist in the United States is around $17.83 per hour. But if you’re a top-level journalist, you can expect to get paid $31.32/hour or $65,154/year. It all depends on your experience level.

Conclusion

Being a journalist, you have the power to make a difference in people’s lives. But with great power comes great responsibility. You can impact change in any way you want and still get paid for it.

The opportunities are many for you to make money as a journalist. The most obvious way to make money is through writing for newspapers or magazines or starting a blog on the topic of your interest.

If you have the skills, qualifications and are looking to gain more experience while making money in the process, you opt to take a job at a radio or TV station. And if you’re the type that loves teaching, then taking a part-time lecturer job is a perfect option for you.

The idea is to know what interests you and befit your skills, experience and perhaps in line with your career goals as a journalist.

Since the majority of your work involves writing, reading, reporting, taking photographs, and so on. You may want to check more options to make money writing, reading, and taking photographs. Each of these activities offers numerous opportunities to make money. check them out.

I hope you found this post helpful. Thank you for reading.