Thursday, January 10, 2013

Return Of The Ink-Stained Wretch 

As this story and this one point out, journalism has returned to its roots.  Until well into the 20th Century, news employees were ill-paid.  They were, as the cliche states, ink-stained wretches.  The ink may have disappeared but poor compensation has not.  From a PR perspective, should a practitioner care?  Yes and no.  It is less likely for good people to go into a field that compensates badly and hence, one has to worry more whether a reporter understands a story.  On the other hand, reporters constrained by compensation and time might be more amenable to being spoon-fed messages.   Overall, it is bad for journalism to pay its people poorly.  The editorial product is affected and the reputation of the media harmed. However, it does little good to damn the greed of publishers. Even the largest are struggling to keep their enterprises going as they search for new economic models.  Journalism is a labor of love, but there is a time when dedication isn't enough.


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