Op-Ed: Overworked and underpaid: the norm for journalists

Why is journalism one of the lower paying career fields? If you’re a journalist, it’s not news be overworked and underpaid in this economy, especially for the reporting position.

College students graduating this year majoring in the field of Journalism not only have to worry about paying off debt or finding a place to live, but will have to wrestle with the reality that journalism is one of the lowest paying career fields.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, a reporter or correspondent is likely to make less then $50,000.00 a year. The median annual pay for the reporter is $34,000-$36,000.

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The job outlook doesn’t look promising either. BLS also states that from now until 2020, jobs will decrease by six percent. This will be a total of 32,000 jobs lost.

This is of great frustration to many fledging journalists whose work output does not match the reward for their pay. Reporters are expected to work on the go conducting interviews and research all while working under tight deadlines. Conflict reporters are willing to risk their lives to report in hostile areas.

Often journalists go into the field of reporting knowing they will not make a lot of money but this is ridiculous. If you work hard shouldn’t you be able to at least sustain yourself? You should at least be paid enough to the point where you can be a journalist for a living.

Pay improves to at least 50 grand depending on the news organization you work for. Broadcast journalists can easily make over $50,000-$100,000 annually.  The size of the organization factors as well.

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Journalism must survive not merely for necessity of paying their workers but also for sustaining this nations democracy. If journalists can’t survive on the low pay they receive we will lose journalism as we know it.

So who’s to blame exactly? Well a lot of factors play into the crumbling of the journalism vocational path. Simply put, the business is falling apart since the disappearance of the newspaper as detailed by writers such as Robert McChesney and John Nichols.

Graduating this year and looking at the job market is not very encouraging. I’m just hoping after I graduate I can move out of parents house and pay my own bills within a year.

Not only do journalists have the burden of working hard for little compensation but must somehow reform American Journalism so the business and democracy itself can be preserved.

For the full report on reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts pay and job out look, visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/reporters-correspondents-and-broadcast-news-analysts.htm#tab-1

Categories: Opinion, Other

2 replies


  1. Reporting on Richmond’s Reporters | Mo Karnage
  2. Confronting The Harsh Realities of Journalism | I Am the Portland Senior Experience

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