One in four journalists taking part in a survey about how much they get paid earn less than £20k a year.
More than 300 journalists have so far taken part in the UKjournopay new study: How are journalists being rewarded? which is being carried out by Francois Nel, director of the journalism leaders programme at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.
Francois designed the survey after South Yorkshire Times editor Jim Oldfield, who is currently on strike in a protest over job cuts, revealed that he is paid just £25,500 despite 37 years’ experience in journalism on both national and local titles.
Through the study journalists are being asked to reveal their full-time equivalent salary. Initial findings have found the scale ranged from £5,000 to a massive £90,000 per year. The low figures are thought to account for freelancers but official numbers for these will not be correlated until the survey is complete.
Almost half of those taking part earn between 20k and 30k, with a quarter of the respondents earning more than £30K. Amongst these are 15 people who earn £50K or more, four of whom earn more than £90k.
24pc of the respondents said they earned less than £20k per year though many of those have less than three years’ experience.
Francois, who called the outcome so far ‘very interesting’, said: “There’s a lot of talk about imbalance between the supply and the demand for the skills that professional journalists offer.
“And with that in mind, this study seeks to find out just what the current market price actually is. The enthusiastic response to the survey we’ve had so far suggests that I’m not alone in wanting to find that out.”
The majority of those taking the survey work for regional weekly and daily newspapers. Other respondents work for B2B magazines, web based news sites, national newspapers and consumer magazines.
The largest group of respondents, 46.4pc, came from newspaper reporters. Editors and sub-editors were the next top two respondents at 13.1pc and 12.4pc.
Francois continued: “Given that there are an estimated 40,000 journalists in the UK, we still need at least 120 more respondents for us to have reasonable confidence in the findings.”
Anyone wanting to take part in the survey has until the end of August. The results will form part of research being carried out at the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at the university.
All respondents also have the option of receiving a report on the findings of the study.