Stuff Journalists Like – #75 Low Pay

Reporters sleeping outside of the Captiol building the first morning after the first session of Congress. 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.”


sleeping journalist


  1. asdf says:

    don’t forget to add self-importance!

  2. Willie Mac says:

    Reminds me of the day I and several other new employees at a Virginia daily were invited to lunch with the publisher. Among other items, he pointed out that the paper was doing very, very well (this was 1993, which seems like an eternity ago), and our jobs, if well done, were secure. At the tail end of the question period, one young reporter asked — in the sweetest voice — “If we’re doing so well, how come we don’t get paid more?” He paused, then smiled and replied in a knowing but not too preachy tone, “Well, that’s something you should have thought about when you were deciding what to major in.”
    As you might imagine, there were no more questions.

  3. Paul says:

    From someone who’s worked in newsrooms for more than 20 years… these are all examples of how journalists like to see themselves. So they are not very funny. This could be funny if it was written more from the perspective of a normal person observing journalists. Also, this site also reflects one of the truest items on any accurate list of Stuff Journalists Like: Writing everything three times longer than it needs to be. But if you’re audience is limited to other reporters, I’m sure it’s a big hit!

  4. ksteinhoff says:

    I knew the profession had gone to hell when one of my younger photographers confessed that he played golf.

  5. Katie C. says:

    At least we know the difference between “you’re” and “your,” buddy. This site works because it provides an outlet for journalists. We already know how “a normal person” sees us. It’s nice to come to a website, read something witty and true, and be able to nod your head and say, “That is so right on.” If you want to read what normal people think of us, go to any media outlets forum and enjoy!


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