Journalists like to think of themselves as the regular working man/woman. Journalist like to kick the same dust as regular folks. Yes there are the millionaire reporters. But those are as rare as readers who subscribe to more than one newspaper. But for the journalists who are not Brian Williams or Rick Reilly, it’s the reality of living paycheck to paycheck.
When selecting a career, journalists knew they would make sacrifices:
long hours, working holidays and low pay.
When young journalism students ask veteran journalists for
advice, virtually all veterans reply with “go to business school.”
However, journalists like the low pay because it allows them
to focus on the news at hand rather than investing in the crashing stock
market, buying a home in foreclosure or saving for retirement.
In fact, thanks to low pay journalists can forget about retirement
entirely. Instead they focus on more important things like the city’s $5
billion budget or the proposed salary increase for police, even though the
crime rate has risen by 25%.
Journalists don’t have to worry about such annoying issues
like a balanced diet or traveling to exotic places. Thanks to low pay,
journalists can eat Ramen noodles or soup in a can every day for lunch and
dinner, and spend their days off valeting their publisher’s cars
to pay the rent. In journalism, the good die poor.
But perhaps the thing journalists like most about low pay is
being able to complain about it. One thing journalists like most is
complaining, and complaining about low pay is at the top of their list. Go to
any local watering or dive bar where journalists congregate and be a fly on the
wall one evening after deadline.
You are sure to hear the topic of low pay come up at some
time, usually in the context of “damn I wish I had gone to business school.”
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