Study Ranks Newspaper Reporter as Worst Job for 3rd Consecutive Year

Posted By Terri Williams on May 23, 2016 at 4:48 pm
Study Ranks Newspaper Reporter as Worst Job for 3rd Consecutive Year

If you were thinking of pursuing a career as a newspaper reporter, you’ll want to read this article – not necessarily to change your mind, but to gather enough information to make an informed decision.

CareerCast recently released its list of the best jobs of 2016 and the worst jobs of 2016. The organization has been ranking jobs for 28 years, and newspaper reporter has placed last for three consecutive years.

So how does CareerCast rank 200 jobs to determine the best and worst? Several factors are considered, including the following:

  • Emotional factors: degree of competitiveness, personal hazards, amount of public contact
  • Physical factors: physical demands, work conditions, stamina, degree of confinement
  • Income: beginning, mid-level, and top-level wages
  • Job outlook: employment growth, income growth potential, unemployment rate
  • Stress: frequency of deadlines, amount of travel

Following are CareerCast’s best and worst jobs of 2016:

10 Worst Jobs

Profession Annual Median Salary Growth Outlook (to 2024)
200 Newspaper Reporter/Print $36,390 -9%
199 Blogger $35,160 -4%
198 Broadcaster $37,200 -9%
197 Disc Jockey $29,010 -11%
196 Enlisted Military $27,936 N/A
195 Pest Control Worker $30,660 _1%
194 Retail Sales Person $21,670 7%
193 Advertising Sales Person $47,890 -3%
192 Taxi Driver $23,210 13%
191 Firefighter $45,970 5%


10 Best Jobs

Profession Annual Median Salary Growth Outlook (to 2024)
1 Data Scientist $128,240 16.02%
2 Statistician $79,990 34%
3 Information Security Analyst $88,890 18%
4 Audiologist $73,060 29%
5 Diagnostic Medical Sonographer $62,540 24%
6 Mathematician $103,720 21%
7 Software Engineer $97,990 17%
8 Computer Systems Analyst $82,710 21%
9 Speech Pathologist $71,550 21%
10 Actuary $96,700 18%


Highest ranking careers are rapidly growing and pay well

It’s important to note that neither CareerCast nor GoodCall advocates abandoning a particular career choice because of its status on the list. “There are great careers that rank in the bottom 10 of CareerCast’s Jobs Rated report – so long as you have the capacity to handle the stress, dangers, and oftentimes low pay,” says Kyle Kensing, CareerCast’s online content editor.

However, he tells GoodCall that readers should also understand that a dwindling marketplace for such positions as newspaper reporter and broadcaster would mean few job opportunities.

And Kensing explains that the best jobs offer not only lucrative wages, but are also in fields expected to rapidly increase. “Data analysis is just beginning to take off, hence the positive outlook for job opportunities in mathematics careers like statistician and data scientist,” says Kensing.

However, students need to consider other factors as well. “Many of the best jobs listed have the trend of having high pay, career longevity, or they are rewarding,” according to Joanne Munekawa, manager of Executive Career Management Agency. She tells GoodCall, “Many of the best jobs will also be limited to the top 5 to 10 percent, as everyone just isn’t cut out to be a data scientist or information security analyst.” And Munekawa says students need to identify their unique skills and abilities to determine which areas they will excel in – before they pick a major or career.  “Otherwise, you may be chasing something that was doomed to begin with.”

What’s the outlook for journalism majors?

Lori Dann, who coordinates (and also teaches in) the journalism program at Eastfield College, tells GoodCall that although she’s been a newspaper reporter for over 20 years, she teaches her students to be journalists. Dann says that being a good writer isn’t enough anymore. “Today’s students must learn new skills – video, audio, social media – that will make them more marketable in a digital news environment.”

For those who do land a job at a newspaper, Dann says the company will have a website and editors want reporters who can navigate the nuances of various social media platforms and drive traffic to the site. “They also want reporters who can put together digital news packages to complement print stories – it’s just a whole new world in the news media.”

And she thinks this is an incredibly exciting time to be a journalist. “The convergence of the print and digital worlds means that your reporting can reach places it has never reached before, and you can engage with readers like never before.” Dann admits that journalists will need to develop new skill sets and work hard, but she concludes, “For watchdog journalists and storytellers of all kinds, that’s a pretty amazing opportunity.”

But, Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University, is worried that many students may never have that experience because they may choose a major based on a survey or report. Paulson tells Good Call, “I’m concerned that parents will discourage their children from enrolling in journalism because they read somewhere that being a newspaper reporter is a dead end.”

He says a well-rounded journalism education can also open the door for other types of jobs. “A journalism student develops skills in critical thinking, research, writing and media production, and learns to take complex subjects and distill them to their essence for a mass audience – and that skill set would be valued in almost any profession.”

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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