In May, Robert Picard wrote a piece in The Christian Science Monitor titled “Why journalists deserve low pay.”
The crux of his argument was that the social value created by journalism isn’t enough to pay journalists’ salaries and keep news organizations solvent. In arguing his case, Picard points out that economic value for journalists’ work arose out of “the exclusivity of their access to information and sources, and their ability to provide immediacy in conveying information.” That value, he contends, “has been stripped away by contemporary communication developments.” Here is how he began his piece:
Journalists like to think of their work in moral or even sacred terms. With each new layoff or paper closing, they tell themselves that no business model could adequately compensate the holy work of enriching democratic society, speaking truth to power, and comforting the afflicted. Actually, journalists deserve low pay. Wages are compensation for value creation. And journalists simply aren’t creating much value these days. Until they come to grips with that issue, no amount of blogging, Twittering, or micropayments is going to solve their failing business models.