Low entry-level pay in TV news is related to an oversupply of job applicants. Radio, with fewer applicants, now pays beginners with journalism degrees higher than does TV. Working in television news has become too popular for the good of entry-level pay. The average pay for beginners and many others in TV news is unprofessionally low. For years, entry-level pay in television has been the lowest of all mass media-related job fields. It has not quite kept up with the cost of living.
Supply and Demand
New college graduates will earn less in TV news than in radio news, where pay overall lags television. Because of radio's low pay, its jobs draw fewer applicants, at least among journalism and communication degree holders. To hire a college graduate with news training, radio stations must pay more. "The profits that newsrooms made for television stations typically were not reinvested in higher pay for the people whose labors enabled the attractive bottom lines.
News continued its profitability for most stations in the mid-1990s, but salaries lagged for most of the people behind the profits"(1).
Both TV and radio have long lagged daily newspapers in starting pay, as well as typical pay for more experienced professionals in comparable positions. Median entry pay in TV news has even dropped to a tie with weekly newspapers, which are usually located in smaller markets. TV and the weeklies were paying beginners the lowest of all journalism-related specialties.
Why is starting pay so much lower in TV news? A good part of the answer is a greater oversupply of graduates seeking jobs in this most visible of the news media. The supply and demand hypothesis was tested in a study by Prof. Becker, Prof. Joseph Graf of George Washington University. It's reported in an article,