The New Yorker made its debut in 1925, and the weekly magazine’s influence has only continued to grow since that time. The magazine, which started out by covering social and cultural topics relevant to New York, has since expanded its scope, and is now famous for its unique take on current affairs, literature, and fascinating full-length features.
The New Yorker has had too many famous contributors to count over the years. If you think you have what it takes to be a staff writer for the New Yorker, you will want to know what the average New Yorker staff writers makes a year — and how to go about getting a job at this well-known publication.
Average Salary for New Yorker Staff Writers
As of 2020, the median annual salary for writers and authors working in diverse fields across the United States is $67,120, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Realistically, few workers will earn a median salary, and the typical ranges seen in this field are between $35,880 and $133,460 or more.
The situation among reporters, journalists, and news analysts, as a subset of writers, is a little different. The BLS suggests that these professionals have a significantly lower annual median wage of $49,300. The top earners may make over $127,370 per year, but workers at the bottom end of the salary scale make less than $25,510.
Some of the factors that influence how much individual writers can reasonably expect to earn include their experience, educational background, talent and connections, and of course their location. New York has the fifth highest cost of living anywhere in the US, so it may seem logical to assume that New Yorker staff writers earn higher wages than staff writers for less well-known publications in other parts of the country.
Is that true?
Unfortunately, reliable data is not available from the platforms many people would ordinarily turn to to get a rough idea of the salary in any given field or at a specific workplace, such as PayScale, Glassdoor, and Indeed.
The most reliable information regarding pay for staff writers at the New Yorker comes from the New Yorker Union. Staff at this publication unionized in 2018 as a direct result of being dissatisfied with their salary ranges. In 2021, union members threatened to go on strike for an entire week because, they said, they were “egregiously underpaid”.
The New Yorker reached an agreement with the union just ahead of the planned strike. As a result, unionized members — which would mean full-time staff writers rather than freelancers — now earn a minimum of $55,000 per year. That’s a significant raise compared to the $42,000 that many staff writers had said they were earning before.
It is important to note that the New Yorker has a staff structure that considers many regular contributors to be acting as independent contractors, or freelancers. Being a “regular” at this publication does not mean that you will be considered an employee.
What Do New Yorker Staff Writers Make Per Hour?
Due to the public nature of the agreement reached between the trade union representing New Yorker staff writers, we can now say with certainty that full-time staff writers earn an annual salary of at least $55,000. Based on this figure, that would amount to an hourly rate of approximately $24.
Some New Yorker staff writers likely earn higher yearly salaries, however, and would as such also bring in a higher hourly wage.
Salary Based on Experience
Most of the information we can convey is based on the agreement reached between the New Yorker and its unionized workers. The New Yorker Union reported, prior to the agreement, that some staff writers had been underpaid for decades. This certainly indicates that experienced staff writers did not see the salary increases they expected over the years.
However, it would be reasonable to assume that seasoned staffers who have been working for the New Yorker for more than a decade do earn more than junior writers new to the publication. Likewise, it appears logical to conclude that veteran journalists with extensive experience in other famous publications would have a higher earning potential.
Salary Based on Education
No data is available that would make it possible to claim with certainty how a New Yorker staff writer’s education would affect their annual salary. Should the New Yorker follow national trends for staff writers, as reported by Salary.com, the situation would look something like this:
- Staff writers who have a high school diploma or technical certificate earn an average of $52,754 per year.
- Staff writers who have earned a Bachelor’s degree, most likely in journalism, earn an average of $56,292 per year.
- For those staff writers with a PhD, the average annual salary shoots up to $60,178.
Top Paying States for New Yorker Staff Writers
While the New Yorker certainly has contributors from outside of New York (and from outside the United States, for that matter), the publication’s staff writers will be based in New York, where the publication has its office at the World Trade Center.
What Is the Outlook for New Yorker Staff Writers?
New Yorker staff writers may opt to build their career within the publication, working there for many decades. Should they decide to look elsewhere, however, experience as a staff writer at this famous publication will certainly open many doors for them.
What Exactly Does a New Yorker Staff Writer Do?
The New Yorker covers a wide variety of issues. Some staff writers will cover culture and lifestyle topics, while others are going to have a focus on current affairs or economy, for instance. Regardless of the desk they work at, the typical duties of staff writers include:
- Engaging in research, whether for an article currently in the works or to decide whether a story is worth pursuing. The New Yorker has an extremely strong commitment to accuracy, and fact-checking and double checking is a must.
- Interviewing people of interest, and building and maintaining relationships with sources.
- Pitching new ideas to members of the editorial team.
- Covering live events.
- Writing and revising articles, in collaboration with members of the editorial team, and contributing to headline ideas.
Those journalists who have previously worked for daily papers will likely appreciate the slightly slower pace at a weekly magazine like the New Yorker, as the environment remains exciting and dynamic, but there is slightly more time to finish each article.
How to Become a New Yorker Staff Writer?
After pursuing a degree in a related field, including but not limited to journalism and English literature, young writers who aspire to one day work for the New Yorker would be advised to build up experience in the field. This can include working for less well-known and local print publications, as well as web-based news or literary publications. Where internship opportunities arise, strongly consider jumping at the chance — this type of experience can help you get staff jobs later on.
Qualifications to Be a New Yorker Staff Writer
Most staff writers, in general, will have at least a Bachelor’s degree. Journalism is the most common choice, but fields such as communications, English, English literature, and creative writing can also open up opportunities for aspiring journalists.
Many will choose to pursue a Master’s degree. This can broaden an aspiring journalist’s career opportunities.
The New Yorker, however, appears to strongly favor high-quality experience in the field over a degree from a top university. All the current job openings at the New Yorker call for experience, but none explicitly require a degree in any field.
Skills to Be a New Yorker Staff Writer
Journalists, to be successful, need to have the following skills:
- Strong research skills that enable them to get to the truth, making it possible to create both accurate and original reporting.
- Curiosity and tenacity. That drive to leave no stone unturned, no matter how many people you annoy in the process, is one of the essential qualities of any journalist.
- Excellent interpersonal skills, especially empathy and the ability to quickly build rapport. These skills are indispensable when gathering information and interviewing people.
- Creativity and outstanding writing skills. These go without saying. The New Yorker is committed to high-quality reporting and commentary, and only the best in the field can be staff writers at this publication.
- A strong tolerance for working unusual hours, as you never know when the next story will break.
Can You Be a New Yorker Staff Writer Without a Degree?
It appears so. The New Yorker’s parent company, Condé Nast, does not list a degree as a job requirement in any of its current openings, including a senior editor role. Rather, it values a proven track record of high-quality journalism as well as a strong professional network.