Job Listing Ignites Conversation About Low Journalist Salaries

By Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel 

It was a simple tweet. But a screenshot of a multimedia meteorologist opening at KNBN in Rapid City, S.D., has ignited controversy about pay for local journalists.

Wall Street Journal meteorologist Matthew Cappucci posted the listing today, highlighting that the position paid $25,000 a year.

“This is a full-time position,” he wrote.

Cappucci’s post ignited a firestorm discussion among journalists who had something to say about pay in their first job and the low salaries many local news reporters experience.

Some journalists revealed they made less than the posted salary in their first jobs.

“More than I made at my first shop ($22,500 in market #176),” wrote Fix 45 reporter Dan Lamperiello. “Tough times, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I don’t think any journalist gets into this industry for the money. The knowledge I gained in those first 2 years far outweighed the paycheck.”

But other journalists criticized the focus on experience over pay.

“Journos—stop justifying pay that is not a living wage,” wrote New York journalist Femi Redwood. “Just because you did it doesn’t mean it’s right. In addition, low wages disproportionately keep Black journalists out of this field bc their parents often don’t have the same wealth as their white counterparts.”

Cappucci’s initial tweet garnered nearly 400 comments and more than a thousand retweets.