Best Cities for Reporters, Correspondents

In the world of media, an ever-changing one, it's important to define our terms first. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines reporters and correspondents as those professionals who "collect and analyze facts about newsworthy events by interview, investigation, or observation" while they "report and write stories for newspaper, news magazine, radio or television." With that clarified, let's take a look at the best cities for these old-school professionals.

Best Five Cities for Reporters, Correspondents

Of the 150 cities reporting data, these five earned our best score, comprising the factors of median salary, cost of living and location quotient. Speaking of salary, the 42,280 reporters, correspondents employed in the U.S. in May 2014 earned $45,800 on average, or an hourly wage of $22.02, according to the BLS, which has different categories for "broadcast news analysts" and "court reporters."

1. Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital has the nation's second-highest location quotient, meaning that there is a high demand for journalists relative to the demand for other professions within the area. Of course, many have the dream of serving as his or her publication's White House correspondent, that one reporter that gets to follow the president on Air Force One and ask the hard questions at press briefings. Some of their work ends up in D.C.'s amazing Newseum, where journos (and avid readers of journalism) go to geek out.

Newspaper with the highest circulation: The Washington Post

Statistical region includes: Arlington and Alexandria, Va.

2. San Francisco, Calif.

The most expensive city in America to live, San Francisco is the second-best city for the country's correspondents and reporters. Many descended on San Francisco this summer when an undocumented immigrant murdered a local woman, leading to coverage of potential local and national reforms. The vibrant Bay Area is also home to the Asian American Journalists Association.

Newspaper with the highest circulation: The San Francisco Chronicle

Statistical region includes: San Mateo and Redwood City, Calif.

3. New York, N.Y.

New York City has the most full-time jobs in the field (2,770) in the country, plus its highest annual average salary ($71,580). As the Knight Foundation, one of journalism's best benefactors noted, there is "no sensible system" to determine the best journalism school in the country, but many can agree that New York City's Columbia University belongs in the conversation. And that's not just because New York City and its top university is the home of The Pulitzer Prizes.

Newspaper with the highest circulation: The Wall Street Journal

Statistical region includes: White Plains, N.Y., and Wayne, N.J.

4. Salt Lake City, Utah

The 490 reporters and correspondents here are paid the least compared to their peers in the other top-five cities, but they also live in the most affordable place. Utah is, of course, home to The Church of of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The state's most widely-read newspaper also employs the world's only polygamy reporter.

Newspaper with the highest circulation: The Salt Lake Tribune

5. Boston, Mass.

Massachusetts' main city rounded out the top five because it ranked in the study's top 10 in both number of jobs and and annual average salary for reporters and correspondents. Boston, it should be noted, was the birthplace of Barbara Walters. But you'd have to travel 60 miles north in New England to find America's oldest newspaper,The New Hampshire Gazzette.

Newspaper with the highest circulation: The Boston Globe

Statistical region includes: Cambridge and Quincy, Mass.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small city to a large one. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: cities with populations less than 100,000 people, midsize cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 500,000. Here are our findings:

“Best

Top 100 Cities for Reporters, Correspondents

Rank

CityAverage SalaryJobsLocation QuotientCost of LivingScore

1

Washington, DC$70,7602,5703.451574

2

San Francisco, CA$56,2309702.8620017

3

New York, NY$71,5802,7701.6416822

4

Salt Lake City, UT$49,4704902.3510645

5

Boston, MA$60,7006901.2315247

6

Atlanta, GA$65,8708501.1411052

7

Durham, NC$54,9101101.2711359

8

Wichita, KS$49,2301301.458770

9

Springfield, MA$50,5601201.3110773

10

Sacramento, CA$49,3303501.3011773

11

Trenton, NJ$51,610901.2410674

12

Orlando, FL$55,8703401.019075

13

Cleveland, OH$48,6803801.209279

14

Denver, CO$53,0204201.0010882

15

Anchorage, AK$50,950601.1713591

16

Chicago, IL$51,3201,1400.9811193

17

Burlington, VT$41,6701203.2812593

18

Miami, FL$47,4403701.1211294

19

Fresno, CA$52,0701001.0110195

20

Santa, NM$42,470603.0011897

21

Charlotte, NC$52,3902600.929498

22

San Juan, PR$41,8903501.5888102

23

Los Angeles, CA$46,2501,3301.05144105

24

Louisville, KY$49,9701900.9784108

25

Baton, LA$42,5901601.3393108

26

Deltona, FL$45,660601.1986111

27

Santa Barbara, CA$48,390601.08167112

28

Boise City, ID$41,4001301.4794114

29

Indianapolis, IN$54,8702300.80102121

30

Albany, GA$40,530402.1588121

31

Albany, NY$43,7001501.11102122

32

Tucson, AZ$46,0801101.0291122

33

Bismarck, ND$37,030803.7798122

34

Providence, RI$57,1401300.77118125

35

Hagerstown, MD$39,690601.7788125

36

Oklahoma, OK$42,2202201.1686126

37

West Palm Beach, FL$51,1601500.85102126

38

Syracuse, NY$53,240800.83100128

39

South Bend, IN$38,660701.7986128

40

Phoenix, AZ$45,3305300.9390128

41

Las Vegas, NV$61,7801900.6994129

42

Nassau, NY$42,4304101.04108132

43

Roanoke, VA$43,200501.1389135

44

Bangor, ME$36,310603.08102136

45

Cheyenne, WY$36,650403.0298138

46

Kansas City, MO$44,6702900.9190138

47

Des Moines, IA$33,6303002.8191140

48

Burlington, NC$37,070401.9693141

49

Baltimore, MD$57,7002400.59107144

50

Salisbury, MD$37,080301.96100144

51

Poughkeepsie, NY$47,200700.90119145

52

Rochester, NY$47,9501300.8384145

53

Asheville, NC$37,950801.44105146

54

Albuquerque, NM$46,1301000.89103147

55

Pittsburgh, PA$40,5903601.0288147

56

Corpus, TX$42,860601.0086151

57

Tampa, FL$39,0103801.0389153

58

Gulfport, MS$36,420501.6091155

59

Nashville, TN$41,4502400.95105158

60

North Port, FL$36,2401101.3292158

61

Oakland, CA$51,3102000.63144159

62

San Diego, CA$50,1602700.65152160

63

Akron, OH$42,270900.9480160

64

Seattle, WA$44,7003800.81137160

65

Utica, NY$48,110300.84101161

66

San Jose, CA$53,4001600.52187161

67

Killeen, TX$42,590400.9883161

68

Salinas, CA$44,420500.90120162

69

Missoula, MT$30,100603.45112163

70

Toledo, OH$33,9501301.3882163

71

Fayetteville, AR$33,4101101.6086164

72

Minneapolis, MN$45,3004300.75104164

73

Spokane, WA$42,400600.9491165

74

Houston, TX$52,0803700.4293165

75

Portland, ME$33,4801001.63114165

76

Omaha, NE$40,6401400.9386167

77

Camden, NJ$44,0101300.8291169

78

Honolulu, HI$47,9901000.72188170

79

Detroit, MI$51,8801200.5184170

80

San Antonio, TX$51,7401300.4690172

81

Lima, OH$29,950402.8180173

82

Cincinnati, OH$49,7901700.5485174

83

Scranton, PA$32,3001101.3885174

84

Sioux Falls, SD$31,360801.75100175

85

Dallas, TX$47,2004200.6096175

86

Wilmington, NC$26,270902.05102177

87

Greenville, SC$45,570700.7593177

88

Edison, NJ$44,2902300.74134177

89

Worcester, MA$50,120500.65115178

90

Santa Ana, CA$51,0502100.45155178

91

Charleston, WV$32,990601.4195179

92

Macon, GA$34,870401.2485180

93

Winston-Salem, NC$47,440500.6990180

94

Kennewick, WA$36,200401.23100180

95

Austin, TX$43,8102000.7398180

96

Eau Claire, WI$28,020501.9490182

97

Richmond, VA$52,240600.3298182

98

Myrtle Beach, SC$35,840401.2097184

99

Portland, OR$46,7302000.61111184

100

Birmingham, AL$40,8101300.8495186

Methodology

These were the three key questions we asked in coming up with the list.

  1. What can reporters/correspondents earn in the city?

We ranked the best cities for reporters/correspondents based on the median annual pay. Income is likely the most important factor people consider when starting their career or relocating elsewhere. A high salary in an expensive city, however, may be less attractive than a lower salary in an affordable town. Our next metric takes affordability into consideration.

  1. How affordable is it to live in this city?

Now that we have the median salary, we’ll look next at the cost of living. The cost of living is a measure of how far earnings can be stretched. Cities with lower cost of living index numbers ranked higher in our study. For example, the average city is benchmarked at 100. A city with a cost of living index of 188, such as Honolulu, would mean that generally speaking, living expenses are 88 percent more expensive compared to the average city.

  1. What is the location quotient for reporters/correspondents in the city?

A place with a high median salary and low cost of living may seem perfect, but job opportunities may be limited. Our third factor accounts for this by favoring cities with high location quotients. Location quotient measures the concentration of reporters/correspondents in an area as a percentage of all occupations, and then compares that to the national average. We interpret a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for a reporter/correspondent’s services.

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