TV News Job Loss Outpaces US Unemployment

This week “The Association of Electronic Journalists” and as noted in a Google search “The Largest Private College on Long Island, NY” released their joint annual survey on news jobs and salaries.   It is analysis of users of newsroom computers professional status. 

The Radio and Television News Directors Association meets annually during the convention of the National Association of Broadcasters.  Both are currently underway in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I’m a former RTNDA member. 

The study is directed by Bob Papper, chairman of Hofstra University’s Journalism Department. Their research indicates in the last quarter of 2008 television newsrooms did better than newspaper and radio newsrooms were mostly stable.

The news release on their sampling reports television news salaries declining well over four per cent.  TV jobs decreased slightly less than news pay but greater than the US national unemployment average. 

Only four stations recently dropped newscasts and most increased news production.   “The survey showed  … more than half of stations are making a profit on local news,” wrote the release author.

"It’s clear … stations are banking on local news to carry them into the future," said Papper.   The professor said the crisis was in newspapers and while last year was a bad one in television indication is more news is produced with fewer resources.

Television news talent experienced statistically heavy pay cuts according to the report.  Radio newsrooms were stable with the same number hiring at least one person as reporting a staff cut.   The amount of radio news dipped slightly while salaries were virtually unchanged.

Papper expects job and salary decay to continue this year.  Those are the highlights of a survey of all non-satellite television stations in the United States and a random sampling of radio stations. 

I hope clear in all  the gloominess is real indication local news is on the upswing.  Local news has a higher return on investment.  Renewed interest comes as consumers are staying and spending closer to home.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing tomorrow peeks at the buzz around Mobile TV.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


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