Thursday, October 19, 2006

Show me the money!

Journalists are truth tellers. Journalists are hounds who work long hours. Journalists are relentless. Journalists are tireless. And many journalists are...penniless.

Right now I’m doling out some pretty pennies to attend a top journalism school (let's say the top journalism school). My career ambition is to be, in fact, a journalist. But how come the pay is so darn lousy?

Recent graduates of journalism school earn an average salary of – gulp! - $29,962, according to a fall 2005 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in Bethlehem, Pa.

That’s roughly half of what us Medill students will spend during our one year of graduate school.

I think it’s laughable how utterly disrespected journalists are when it comes time for the bi-weekly paycheck.

Our friends in other graduate programs – MBA/J.D. – don’t seem to have the same salary quandary. Why are we starving journalists??

So I’d like to see journalists unite and make a change. A big change.

Journalists should be legitimized in the same fashion as doctors and lawyers are.

Enough of the Jayson Blairs and citizen journalists of the world. Let’s make our degrees, experiences and skills worth something. Let’s set standards. Decree rules that must be followed or else you lose the right to be a journalist.

Maybe then we can be taken more seriously. Where being a journalist can become a more respected profession in the eyes of society.

And let’s not dismiss journalism as a profession where, “You’re not in it for the money.”

I’m tired of hearing people say that. If I really wasn’t in it for the money, I’d be getting a Ph.D. in philosophy right now.

What I’m in it for is a career. To me that career involves not only a rewarding job, but also a job that rewards me with a nice salary.

For more salary medians, check out But viewer discretion is advised...



At Thursday, October 19, 2006, Blogger theurbanreporter said...

Journalists are underpaid, and I suggest you find another profession if you don't like it. The sad truth is the big media companies are more concerned about the bottom line, and with the Internet, cable, and satellite TV, as well as classified sites like Craigslist, the revenue only continues to decline. That's not to say you won't make a respectable salary after you pay your dues, but you will struggle for your first few years out of school.

At Sunday, October 22, 2006, Anonymous LO said...

I still think it's bogus.

At Sunday, October 22, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

When it comes to pay scales, there really isn't much that would strike most of us as fair: teachers and social workers at the low end, hedge fund managers at the high end (we can safely assume we rank below investment bankers and above door-to-door sales people). If you are to journalism what Julia Roberts is to movies or Warren Buffet is to buying businesses, you'll be banking a hefty paycheck. Most of us, though, will spend our careers somewhere well below that level, making a living and making a contribution that will serve as a psychic reward.


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