What brings a median salary up or down? I know the literal answer is outliers, but when I was taking a look at the State of the Media 2018 from the Pew Research Center, I wanted to look a bit deeper.
Near the end of each section, from cable news to podcasting, was the heading “newsroom spending.”
Buckle up because I’m about to get playfully socialist.
None of the reporters’ salaries broke a median of $60,000, and while editors don’t appear to make much more than that, I can’t help but wonder why the workers aren’t being, in my opinion, appropriately compensated for creating the content that quite literally is their industry. You can’t have a news media without the news. What would higher-paid executives make decisions about if the product didn’t exist?
There’s money in media, we all know that. Ads, subscriptions, and other methods of taking in cash from consumers are ubiquitous and the reach of media grows every day. Nearly everyone is a customer, like it or not.
Why isn’t that money going back into the pockets of the people who make it happen?
One reason is that the workers aren’t getting their cut of the profit, and media is treated like every other business or corporation model in that the “prime movers,” as Ann Rynd misnomered them, take huge sums, largely for distributing content to other distributors.
What I want to see in the next few years is the insane amount of work that grunts in the media to reflect back in their salaries. Some have tried the Patreon model, where media-makers are paid by the individuals who consume their work directly. Others have branched out into making new companies.
In my opinion, we need an entirely new business model for the media, journalists, in particular, to reflect the work they do in the digital age. It’s more far-reaching than ever before, even a story in a small local paper, and that needs to be recognized.
Something I plan to research in the months ahead is what the business model could be, and how it can best serve the people who make the content.
It could be an app that tracks the impact of individual stories or photographs, calculating the amount of money and eyes it attracts and converts it into monetary value. It could be a compelling philosophical/economic argument.
I’ll let you know.