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Convergence onto the web may provide reporters and editors with a unique opportunity to greatly increase their compensation 6/27/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Journalist compensation.
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Under the old news systems, advertiser rates were inordinately high and journalist compensation was inordinately low. In both cases, it’s simply been a matter of supply and demand. Advertiser rates in newspapers have been high because the “supply” of available newspapers in which to advertise has been very low. And, that’s because few cities could support more than one paper that had sufficiently high circulations to achieve the economies of scale needed to deliver an affordable price per paper. In broadcast, the key cause of the low supply of TV stations has been FCC limits in their assignment of channels.

Journalist compensation has been artificially low because the field developed principles that inadvertently turned writers’ work into a commodity. Elements that could add color, like the incorporation of opinion, sensationalism, formats that defy the “inverted pyramid” format, and highly-styled prose that is less directly communicative, have been frowned upon. The supply of journalists who could produce acceptable material mushroomed, suppressing wages.

The stage is set for a potential gush of money in the direction of reporters, editors, and other content creators. Advertisers are accustomed to paying fees that are far higher than needed to support the much less costly online news infrastructure, and ad agencies will be in no hurry to encourage them to slash budgets. The web is generating new formats and new writing styles that will allow some writers to stand-out and demand higher compensation based on their unique abilities to attract and hold audiences. There is no reason to believe that journalism in its new form will continue to be an underpaid vocation.

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1.   links for 2007-07-01 by andydickinson.net - 7/1/07

[…] Convergence onto the web may provide reporters and editors with a unique opportunity to greatly incr… Steve Boriss – “The web is generating new formats and new writing styles that will allow some writers to stand-out and demand higher compensation based on their unique abilities to attract and hold audiences.” (tags: media newspaper) […]

2. shooting by numbers » Videojournalism » Show me the money - 3/12/09

[…] a more positive note, Steve Boriss points out that in changing times the whole risk/rewards formula is impacted. Job security becomes […]


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