AAJA Pay Study Reveals Women and POC Earn Less

Recently, it seems there has been a boom in reports on the number of women in newsrooms and media organizations. Tracking the share of women in these roles is an important first step in establishing equity in representation, and these efforts should be lauded. However, there is more to gender equity than just hiring, and recently-released data from the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) suggests that women and minorities employed in newsrooms earn less than their male and white counterparts.

The report, “Mind the gap: Uncovering pay disparity in the newsroom” was done by student reporters in AAJA’s Voices program, who assessed seven pay studies done by newsroom unions and added interviews with 29 journalists nationwide. All seven studies found that “white men earned the most of any demographic and held most senior high-paying positions in the newsroom. Women of color commonly made the least.”

The study acknowledges the challenge of comparing data from distinct reports, given the unique ways in which each union compiled the information. However, in the aggregate, the pattern holds. The report also investigates why these disparities may continue, suggesting among other reasons that some reporters may not feel comfortable negotiating with new employers when they are hired. In an ideal world, having this information available will prompt news organizations to consider what candidates are experiencing during the hiring process and to work on improving structural issues their employees face.

We at the News Media Alliance believe in equality and improving representation and pay equity in the news industry. We would love to hear from our members on your experiences and what you are doing to better support their staff. Send your input by emailing Alliance Research & Insights Director Rebecca Frank at rebecca@newsmediaalliance.org.

Rebecca is VP, Research & Insights at the News Media Alliance.

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