Underpaying journalists the root of most of its problems

Despite making up most of the workforce, female journalists in New Zealand are being paid significantly less than their male colleagues, according to a new study.

The survey, part of the 2016 Worlds of Journalism Study, shows the median after-tax salary of female journalists was 26 per cent lower than that of men of equal rank and experience.

The research, made up of interviews of 539 Kiwi journalists, found women were also disadvantaged in terms of promotion, with only half of men working in non-management roles, while two-thirds of women hold non-management roles.

The survey also found journalists in New Zealand feel they are working longer hours, and are under more pressure, both ethically and resource-wise, than two years ago.

“It is concerning that journalists feel these changes have affected news quality, with a perception that the credibility of journalism, ethical standards and freedom to make editorial decisions have all fallen,” study lead and Massey University head of journalism James Hollings said.

So if journalists themselves feel the news quality has dropped, that their credibility is lower, that their ethics are eroding and that they are just cogs in the machine, who is really responsible for this?

Is it because they are not paid enough?

That doesn’t make sense.  Making ethical decisions or producing quality reporting isn’t dependent on how much you are paid.

Worse, apparently, is that journalism remains a male dominated bastion – especially at middle and higher management levels.  And these are generally battle scarred tuskers that fought their way up back in the days when journalism wasn’t under the pressures they are under now.

As we have seen with the Herald, putting a woman at the top with no true roots in journalism also hasn’t improved…. performance, pay, standards or ethics.

Perhaps it’s time not to blame the gender or the pay, but just be honest enough to admit that each and every individual journalist has it within him/herself to “be the change” they want to see.

I reject the suggestion that having more women in management of better paid women would in and of itself be a solution to the problems they outlined.

 

– NZN via Yahoo! News

 


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