Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay

“We need to publicly discuss how inappropriate these salary disparities are — both in for-profit and nonprofit newsrooms — when so many news organizations are struggling and laying off workers.”

$569,392. $522,129. $427,692.

Over the last few years, these numbers have represented top-level executive compensation at NPR, American Public Media Group,and ProPublica.

All people — including journalists — should be able to have access to clean water, healthy food, and stable housing. In the U.S., at this current juncture, any semblance of that would require a living wage.

So considering all of this: If a living wage does not currently exist at your news organization, yet your executive leadership is making 3 to 10 times more than the lowest-paid salary or contract worker, then how are journalists supposed to report for their communities without being exhausted and demoralized? Why are fellows, who are often doing the work of full-time staff, so underpaid in so many newsrooms? Why are low-paid interns being treated as if someone is doing them a favor?

Much of the recent public conversation around salary has focused on salary bands, salary transparency, and empowering workers to unionize. But in 2023, we need to shift the conversation forward: We need to publicly discuss how inappropriate these salary disparities are — both in for-profit and nonprofit newsrooms — when so many news organizations are struggling and laying off workers. We need to, through collective action and our unions, demand better. And newsroom leadership, in good times and bad, needs to model behavior that doesn’t put their salaries first and share their rationale publicly.

We need to make salary disparity unacceptable.

I am not ignorant of the power dynamics at play in suggesting this: Considering the risk to their careers and economic security, student and entry-level journalists cannot do this alone. It’s critical that we as mid-career and late-career journalists use our privilege to call attention to these disparities. It is especially critical to do this as a full-time worker, when you have colleagues (including fellows and interns) on contract without healthcare or benefits.

Even considering some of the cuts executives were willing to make to their salary and bonuses these past few years, how you can feel comfortable as a journalist earning substantially above a living wage while your coworkers feel the economic pain of inflation and the pandemic — along with the tangible harm both bring to their lives — is beyond me.

Next year, realistically, journalism leaders will not stop making disparate pay. But in 2023, we should make it unacceptable for their workers — our coworkers and colleagues — to not be paid fairly while newsroom leadership continues to earn substantial six-figure salaries.

Gabe Schneider is the co-founder of The Objective.

$569,392. $522,129. $427,692.

Over the last few years, these numbers have represented top-level executive compensation at NPR, American Public Media Group,and ProPublica.

All people — including journalists — should be able to have access to clean water, healthy food, and stable housing. In the U.S., at this current juncture, any semblance of that would require a living wage.

So considering all of this: If a living wage does not currently exist at your news organization, yet your executive leadership is making 3 to 10 times more than the lowest-paid salary or contract worker, then how are journalists supposed to report for their communities without being exhausted and demoralized? Why are fellows, who are often doing the work of full-time staff, so underpaid in so many newsrooms? Why are low-paid interns being treated as if someone is doing them a favor?

Much of the recent public conversation around salary has focused on salary bands, salary transparency, and empowering workers to unionize. But in 2023, we need to shift the conversation forward: We need to publicly discuss how inappropriate these salary disparities are — both in for-profit and nonprofit newsrooms — when so many news organizations are struggling and laying off workers. We need to, through collective action and our unions, demand better. And newsroom leadership, in good times and bad, needs to model behavior that doesn’t put their salaries first and share their rationale publicly.

We need to make salary disparity unacceptable.

I am not ignorant of the power dynamics at play in suggesting this: Considering the risk to their careers and economic security, student and entry-level journalists cannot do this alone. It’s critical that we as mid-career and late-career journalists use our privilege to call attention to these disparities. It is especially critical to do this as a full-time worker, when you have colleagues (including fellows and interns) on contract without healthcare or benefits.

Even considering some of the cuts executives were willing to make to their salary and bonuses these past few years, how you can feel comfortable as a journalist earning substantially above a living wage while your coworkers feel the economic pain of inflation and the pandemic — along with the tangible harm both bring to their lives — is beyond me.

Next year, realistically, journalism leaders will not stop making disparate pay. But in 2023, we should make it unacceptable for their workers — our coworkers and colleagues — to not be paid fairly while newsroom leadership continues to earn substantial six-figure salaries.

Gabe Schneider is the co-founder of The Objective.

Bill Grueskin   Local news will come to rely on AI

Priyanjana Bengani   Partisan local news networks will collaborate

Al Lucca   Digital news design gets interesting again

Mario García   More newsrooms go mobile-first

Alex Sujong Laughlin   Credit where it’s due

Josh Schwartz   The AI spammers are coming

Laura E. Davis   The year we embrace the robots — and ourselves

Barbara Raab   More journalism funders will take more risks

Joe Amditis   AI throws a lifeline to local publishers

Cassandra Etienne   Local news fellowships will help fight newsroom inequities

Amethyst J. Davis   The slight of the great contraction

Jessica Clark   Open discourse retrenches

Juleyka Lantigua   Newsrooms recognize women of color as the canaries in the coal mine

Jody Brannon   We’ll embrace policy remedies

Julia Angwin   Democracies will get serious about saving journalism

Sue Schardt   Toward a new poetics of journalism

Nicholas Thompson   The year AI actually changes the media business

Andrew Losowsky   Journalism realizes the replacement for Twitter is not a new Twitter

Doris Truong   Workers demand to be paid what the job is worth

Larry Ryckman   We’ll work together with our competitors

Michael Schudson   Journalism gets more and more difficult

Ståle Grut   Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

Jakob Moll   Journalism startups will think beyond English

Peter Bale   Rising costs force more digital innovation

J. Siguru Wahutu   American journalism reckons with its colonialist tendencies

Daniel Trielli   Trust in news will continue to fall. Just look at Brazil.

Gina Chua   The traditional story structure gets deconstructed

Mariana Moura Santos   A woman who speaks is a woman who changes the world

David Cohn   AI made this prediction

Burt Herman   The year AI truly arrives — and with it the reckoning

Masuma Ahuja   Journalism starts working for and with its communities

Martina Efeyini   Talk to Gen Z. They’re the experts of Gen Z.

Ryan Kellett   Airline-like loyalty programs try to tie down news readers

Emma Carew Grovum   The year to resist forgetting about diversity

S. Mitra Kalita   “Everything sucks. Good luck to you.”

Stefanie Murray   The year U.S. media stops screwing around and becomes pro-democracy

Jennifer Brandel   AI couldn’t care less. Journalists will care more. 

Megan Lucero and Shirish Kulkarni   The future of journalism is not you

Alan Henry   A reckoning with why trust in news is so low

Molly de Aguiar and Mandy Van Deven   Narrative change trend brings new money to journalism

Brian Stelter   Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

Francesco Zaffarano   There is no end of “social media”

Sue Cross   Thinking and acting collectively to save the news

Jenna Weiss-Berman   The economic downturn benefits the podcasting industry. (No, really!)

Sarah Marshall   A web channel strategy won’t be enough

Joanne McNeil   Facebook and the media kiss and make up

Joni Deutsch   Podcast collaboration — not competition — breeds excellence

Alex Perry   New paths to transparency without Twitter

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-check (no, really!)

Moreno Cruz Osório   Brazilian journalism turns wounds into action

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Mission-driven metrics become our North Star

Ryan Nave   Citizen journalism, but make it equitable

A.J. Bauer   Covering the right wrong

Wilson Liévano   Diaspora journalism takes the next step

Pia Frey   Publishers start polling their users at scale

Sumi Aggarwal   Smart newsrooms will prioritize board development

Simon Galperin   Philanthropy stops investing in corporate media

Richard Tofel   The press might get better at vetting presidential candidates

Eric Nuzum   A focus on people instead of power

Parker Molloy   We’ll reach new heights of moral panic

Kavya Sukumar   Belling the cat: The rise of independent fact-checking at scale

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Well-being will become a core tenet of journalism

Rodney Gibbs   Recalibrating how we work apart

Brian Moritz   Rebuilding the news bundle

Sam Gregory   Synthetic media forces us to understand how media gets made

Snigdha Sur   Newsrooms get nimble in a recession

Mael Vallejo   More threats to press freedom across the Americas

Gabe Schneider   Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay

Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson   News product goes from trend to standard

Danielle K. Brown and Kathleen Searles   DEI efforts must consider mental health and online abuse

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   More of the same

Jonas Kaiser   Rejecting the “free speech” frame

Johannes Klingebiel   The innovation team, R.I.P.

Karina Montoya   More reporters on the antitrust beat

Nikki Usher   This is the year of the RSS reader. (Really!)

Delano Massey   The industry shakes its imposter syndrome

Jessica Maddox   Journalists keep getting manipulated by internet culture

Peter Sterne   AI enters the newsroom

Jaden Amos   TikTok personality journalists continue to rise

Taylor Lorenz   The “creator economy” will be astroturfed

Kaitlin C. Miller   Harassment in journalism won’t get better, but we’ll talk about it more openly

Khushbu Shah   Global reporting will suffer

Laxmi Parthasarathy   Unlocking the silent demand for international journalism

Matt Rasnic   More newsroom workers turn to organized labor

Eric Holthaus   As social media fragments, marginalized voices gain more power

Alexandra Svokos   Working harder to reach audiences where they are

Alexandra Borchardt   The year of the climate journalism strategy

Hillary Frey   Death to the labor-intensive memo for prospective hires

Andrew Donohue   We’ll find out whether journalism can, indeed, save democracy

Janet Haven   ChatGPT and the future of trust 

Rachel Glickhouse   Humanizing newsrooms will be a badge of honor

Raney Aronson-Rath   Journalists will band together to fight intimidation

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Journalism education faces a crossroads

Dominic-Madori Davis   Everyone finally realizes the need for diverse voices in tech reporting

Zizi Papacharissi   Platforms are over

Emily Nonko   Incarcerated reporters get more bylines

Christoph Mergerson   The rot at the core of the news business

Dana Lacey   Tech will screw publishers over

Tamar Charney   Flux is the new stability

Eric Thurm   Journalists think of themselves as workers

Nicholas Jackson   There will be launches — and we’ll keep doing the work

Ryan Gantz   “I’m sorry, but I’m a large language model”

Jarrad Henderson   Video editing will help people understand the media they consume

Sarabeth Berman   Nonprofit local news shows that it can scale

Kathy Lu   We need emotionally agile newsroom leaders

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Journalists productively harness generative AI tools

AX Mina   Journalism in a time of permacrisis

Upasna Gautam   Technology that performs at the speed of news

Anthony Nadler   Confronting media gerrymandering

Dannagal G. Young   Stop rewarding elite performances of identity threat

Michael W. Wagner   The backlash against pro-democracy reporting is coming

Jacob L. Nelson   Despite it all, people will still want to be journalists

Anika Anand   Independent news businesses lead the way on healthy work cultures

Mauricio Cabrera   It’s no longer about audiences, it’s about communities

Kerri Hoffman   Podcasting goes local

Jesse Holcomb   Buffeted, whipped, bullied, pulled

Sarah Alvarez   Dream bigger or lose out

Cindy Royal   Yes, journalists should learn to code, but…

Jim Friedlich   Local journalism steps up to the challenge of civic coverage

Joshua P. Darr   Local to live, wire to wither

Ben Werdmuller   The internet is up for grabs again

Mar Cabra   The inevitable mental health revolution

Sue Robinson   Engagement journalism will have to confront a tougher reality

Esther Kezia Thorpe   Subscription pressures force product innovation

Anita Varma   Journalism prioritizes the basic need for survival

John Davidow   A year of intergenerational learning

Cari Nazeer and Emily Goligoski   News organizations step up their support for caregivers

Jennifer Choi and Jonathan Jackson   Funders finally bet on next-generation news entrepreneurs

Walter Frick   Journalists wake up to the power of prediction markets

Shanté Cosme   The answer to “quiet quitting” is radical empathy

Basile Simon   Towards supporting criminal accountability

Kirstin McCudden   We’ll codify protection of journalism and newsgathering

Christina Shih   Shared values move from nice-to-haves to essentials

Ayala Panievsky   It’s time for PR for journalism

Janelle Salanga   Journalists work from a place of harm reduction

Lisa Heyamoto   The independent news industry gets a roadmap to sustainability

Surya Mattu   Data journalists learn from photojournalists

Cory Bergman   The AI content flood

Gordon Crovitz   The year advertisers stop funding misinformation

Sam Guzik   AI will start fact-checking. We may not like the results.

Victor Pickard   The year journalism and capitalism finally divorce

Anna Nirmala   News organizations get new structures

Jim VandeHei   There is no “peak newsletter”

Errin Haines   Journalists on the campaign trail mend trust with the public

Tim Carmody   Newsletter writers need a new ethics

Kaitlyn Wells   We’ll prioritize media literacy for children

Sarah Stonbely   Growth in public funding for news and information at the state and local levels

Tre'vell Anderson   Continued culpability in anti-trans campaigns

Eric Ulken   Generative AI brings wrongness at scale

Don Day   The news about the news is bad. I’m optimistic.

Julia Beizer   News fatigue shows us a clear path forward

Susan Chira   Equipping local journalism

Leezel Tanglao   Community partnerships drive better reporting

Elite Truong   In platform collapse, an opportunity for community

Paul Cheung   More news organizations will realize they are in the business of impact, not eyeballs

David Skok   Renewed interest in human-powered reporting

Ariel Zirulnick   Journalism doubles down on user needs