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Friday, February 15, 2019

The less-educated, low-paid, mainly white media

A Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data found that newsrooms in America are whiter than the population in general and largely male.

News media staffers also are not as well-educated as people in other occupations that require college degrees. Media employees are paid less than people with similar degrees on average.

On top of that, they face layoffs and plant closings. A booming economy has left them behind in an industry that failed to adapt to a new environment and new technology.

Pew reported, "Newsroom employees are more than twice as likely as other U.S. workers to be college graduates. But they tend to make less money than college-educated workers in other industries."

In school, they took the easy way, working on the campus newspaper rather than seeking more challenging courses.

Pew found 77% have degrees in arts and humanities vs. the national average of 23% for college graduates.

Only 16% have a degree in some STEM discipline vs. the national average of 45%.

Only 5% have business degrees vs. the national average of 32%.

Their wages show the difference.

Pew said, "college-educated newsroom employees make less than college-educated workers in other industries and occupations. The median earnings of newsroom employees with a college degree are about $51,000, compared with roughly $59,000 for all other college-educated workers."

Many newspapers that push for $15 an hour for waitresses pay their reporters less than that.

Pew also found 77% of newsroom employees are non-Hispanic whites vs. the national average of 63%.

61% are male vs. a national workforce that is 53% male.

The low wages are coupled with job insecurity. Newspapers are hardest hit. Their 20th century business model did not age well. Craigslist decimated their classified ads sections, which were a cash cow. Online retailing is killing malls and the advertising that goes with them.

Online subscriptions are an iffy proposition, as given the choice between reading a newspaper and not, most people choose not. Those who want a newspaper can just as easily sign up for the New York Times as they can the local newspaper.

Pew reported, "About a third of large U.S. newspapers have suffered layoffs since 2017."

Low wages and job insecurity are no way to go through life. I suggest that my former colleagues learn to code.


  1. Daniel Greenfield had an interesting take on this yesterday:

    1. Greenfield proposes an inverse relation between the health of the nation and that of the press. This might apply currently, but I don't think it holds up historically. Too many other factors.

      I think that things have aligned in our favor when it comes to information technology and the collapse of traditional advertising. Companies like Facebook and Twitter may have sucked up a bunch of the revenue, and Amazon may have diverted sources of money, but these corporations, despite their best attempts, have been unable to control the ideological content that is available under their aegis nearly as completely as the big networks and news services. And alternatives like this blog and other independent sources just make things worse for the legacy media.

      In a way one could say we are living in a golden age. I hope it lasts a while.

  2. I know it sounds bad, but homosexuals are overly abundant in this profession, both on and off camera.

  3. I did all that stuff, except I majored in music. Arts and humanities would have been a step up, employment-wise.

    So I learned to code.

    Coding has been veddy good to me.

  4. Coding is smart - but requires logic and consistency.

    Too bad there aren't more part time reporters reporting on local events. That's what seems to be really missing, tho it's also very location specific.

  5. Hmmm... Let's see. Old...White...Male. Hangs out in a biscuit joint in West Virginia. Never learned to code. Damn good blogger. Successful writer. Not bad. Not bad at all.

  6. There has to be some social lemmingism in all this. Even the wealthiest and most famous of modern Journalists was offering frivolous knee pad service to his master over a text fiasco driven attack on Trump a few days ago. Are there any independent minded Journos left? I don't think low pay and frivolous education are all that's wrong with journalism, if in fact it still exists. Coding is actually a form of free expression compared to writing copy.

  7. I always said that people in journalism are those who couldn't pass the GRE or LSAT.

  8. Spit-out-coffee comment of the month from Surby:

    "Low wages and job insecurity are no way to go through life. I suggest that my former colleagues learn to code."

    Nice quote Don. Seeing how you have ridiculed for years programs to train displaced coal miners to learn how to code. Do some surfing and you will see displaced miners in Ky and W.Va. are earning good paychecks again in coding jobs.

    ALso, check out DS comments above. Does that describe you?

    1. I ridiculed a $30 billion boondoggle to train miners to code. Miners use computers and many miners have engineering degrees.
      And miners have skills that translate well into other high-paying occupations. Mining is their first love.

  9. Lower educated for sure. The Huntington newsrag employs 2 writers who have no degree at all. Davey Peyton and Patrick Grace.

  10. They are so arrogant that they think they know more about STEM than STEM professionals and more about business than business professionals.

  11. Of all the IT careers, why the fixation on coding? Was this something on Fox & Friends? Would you dare recognize the value of AWS certifications? Would you even know what that is or acknowledge something from Bezos?

    1. Ask NPR
      NPR May 6, 2016: "From Coal To Code: A New Path For Laid-Off Miners In Kentucky"
      By the way, Arch Coal is hiring 600 miners in West Virginia.
      And the local newspaper here in WV keeps laying off staff.

  12. And let's not forget: being a reporter *could be* a challenging and consequential job. You need to be a quick study to pick up the basics of the thing you are currently studying. You need people skills to get interviews and have people trust you enough to share what they. You need knowledge of human nature to sense poseurs, shills and hoaxers.

    Instead we have second raters content to reprint Dem press releases.

    Who has that Ben Rhodes quote handy? The one with "they know literally nothing"


  13. "News business" is basically an oxymoron. Dead-Tree journalism did not sell news, they sold advertising. If you are trying to sell news as a product, the pressure is ever present to make it as cheaply as possible while attracting the maximum audience. That is the "tabloid" business model.

    If you are a journalist who sees the news business as a service, ask yourself what service you are providing and to whom your professional loyalties are owed.