When copy editors start their careers, they earn higher salaries than newbies in other departments, such as reporters.
When they have worked long enough to be consided "experienced" copy editors, they still make more money.
And when they've become "senior" copy editors, their average salary has risen to $45,947 - and that's still $1,864 more than a reporter of comparable experience; $8,522 more than a graphic artist; and $746 more than a photographer.
These numbers are national averages and don't reflect differences in newspapers' locations or circulation sizes. They are, however, consistent: The wage boost has been seen in Inland's salary surveys since 2002.
And the value of editing skills pays off even if you're not a copy editor. According to data analyzed by Dr. Hugh Martin at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, 52 percent of entry-level print journalism jobs required editing and design skills. Graduates who have editing skills give themselves an edge in the job market.
Here's something else editors should note: Online editors had the biggest increases in base pay and incentives last year. The 2006 Newspaper Compensation Survey, also done by the Inland Press Association, found that, on average, online editors had a total 8.8 percent salary increase, compared to a 2.6 percent average increase across all job descriptions.
At left you'll find:
* Dr. Martin's report
* An Excel spreadsheet with the Inland data
* Inland's job descriptions for the four job categories by experience level.
* Inland's story on its 2006 NICS Survey (PDF).