24 November 2014

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Journalists see real-terms cut in incomes since 2002

Journalists have seen their average incomes decline in real terms over the past 10 years, according to a survey released today.

Average incomes in the industry have risen from £22,500 in 2002 to £27,500 in 2012, research carried out by the National Council for the Training of Journalists has found.

However if incomes had risen in line with inflation, they would now stand at £30,815 – meaning journalists are more than £3,300 a year worse off in real terms than a decade ago.

The preliminary findings were unveiled as part of the ‘Journalists at Work 2012′ survey released by the NCTJ at its annual conference in Nottingham this morning.

More than 1,000 journalists responded to the online survey, which was carried out in October and publicised on HoldtheFrontPage.

It found that the proportion of journalists who feel they are fairly rewarded at work has fallen from 50pc in 2002 to 40pc in 2012.

Chairing a discussion on the findings, Ian Hargreaves, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University, said:  “The real terms fall in journalists salaries is unlike what has happened in the wider economy. 

“Journalism has been a tougher place to drive your personal income up over the past 10 years.”

Other key findings showed that 52pc of journalists work in London and the South East compared to 29pc of the general workforce, and that 88pc of journalists now have a degree or higher qualification, compared to 38pc of the overall workforce.

The survey also showed that 63pc of journalists had a journalism qualification – up from 58pc in 2002. Of these, 73pc held an NCTJ qualification, compared to 64pc ten years ago.

On the topical question of journalistic ethics, 53pc of respondents said they had received enough training in the subject, while only 14pc said they hadn’t.

The NCTJ announced yesterday that Journalism Ethics would become a mandatory part of the curriculum for its Diploma in Journalism, in the wake of the issues raised by the Leveson Inquiry.

In terms of overall attitudes to the profession, 42pc of respondents felt that feel that changes over the last 10 years had led to lower job satisfaction, and 40pc felt that their job had been de-skilled.

And 42pc of those who responded said they were either not very confident or not at all confident in the future of journalism as a profession.

Unveiling the results, researcher Mark Spilsbury said:  “The thing that leaps out from the survey is how highly qualified journalists are. They are one of the most highly qualified workforces there is.”

However he accepted there was a “disconnect” between the high level of qualifications within the profession and the falling level of real-terms salaries.

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  • 3 Comments

    1. On The Way Out

      Well, I can say that the majority of journalists working in my newsroom are earning significantly below the 2002 average, let alone the 2012 average or what it should be.

      It’s a wonderful job being a local news reporter, but the pay is bordering on disgraceful.
      A new recruit these days at our place is earning little more than £1k a year above minimum wage.

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    2. Kendo Nagasaki

      It comes down to demand and supply. There is no shortage of Jeremys and Jemimas being churned out by the NCTJ so no incentive for employers to increase wages. Obviously all these reporters leave after a couple of years for more lucrative work in PR or the public sector, but the bosses themselves won’t be hanging around so don’t care about the long-term consequences of their decisions.

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    3. Former Hack

      If I was earning £27,500 at my last reporting job (heck, even £15,000 would have been nice) I’d never have moved to PR.

      I don’t want to be unrealistic about what papers can pay their staff but it was a definitely a sore point seeing all those Sly Bailey pay dispute etc stories while barely being able to cover living costs (even though I wasn’t with TM).

      At least now shareholders are beginning to challenge some of the ludicrous executive pay demands.

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