Economics professor Robert G. Picard argues that many journalists deserve low pay in an article in the Christian Science Monitor and, to my surprise, I agree with him. Picard’s thesis is:
To create economic value, journalists and news organizations historically relied on the exclusivity of their access to information and sources, and their ability to provide immediacy in conveying information. The value of those elements has been stripped away by contemporary communication developments. Today, ordinary adults can observe and report news, gather expert knowledge, determine significance, add audio, photography, and video components, and publish this content far and wide (or at least to their social network) with ease. And much of this is done for no pay.
Until journalists can redefine the value of their labor above this level, they deserve low pay.
I’m not slamming the media or reporters. In fact, if I were looking to start a business now, or start a new career, I’d be looking at journalism. Precisely because I think that this is a great opportunity to redefine the value of the labor of journalists, for all of the reasons that Picard outlines.