Journalism as a Trade
Just like carpentry, factory and service work, journalism is a trade-- it is necessary societal work that requires skill, training and dedication. And like any other trade, journalism needs unions. Journalists deserve to be paid a decent wage. We deserve healthcare coverage, sick-leave, parental leave, reasonable working hours, and guaranteed vacation time. But In order to win these things, we need a union to bargain collectively for us. Uniting and fighting with other workers is how we increase the standard and the conditions of all workers.
The Newspaper Guild is a national union for journalists and other media workers that fights to improve our pay and working conditions. The Guild has 34,000 members nationwide and is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. If you are not yet a member of the Newspaper Guild, join today. And find out if your publication or station has a local union. If not, consider starting one (you can contact the Guild for information on how).
In addition to supporting your union, journalists should also help support local and national organizations that fight for the rights of all American workers, like the national Labor Party.
Sticking it to the man.
We reject the exploitation of our labor by corporate media. According to the American Journalism Review, the average yearly salary for a full-time newspaper reporter is $26,000 (or $12,500 for freelancers), while CEOs of the top 12 news organizations in the country are making an average of 3.6 million a year. Even MORE amazing are the salaries of those handful of people who own the media (here are a few examples):
- The CEO of the Walt Disney Corporation makes $12 million a year
- Vice-chairman of GE (CEO of NBC Universal) makes $19.7 million
- The CEOs of Viacom make $56 million and $52 million a year
What's wrong with this picture? The average CEO is paid 531 times that of the average American worker (Business Week), when WE are the ones doing the work that holds society together! Reporters do the vital work of keeping the public informed, often for 40 hours a week or more, and usually for a pittance. Why are we working so hard for so little return? There's no reason why journalists shouldn't be able to afford basic necessities like healthcare, groceries, childcare, and education-- especially when those at the top are so ridiculously overpaid.