Magazine article American Journalism Review

For Love or Money

Magazine article American Journalism Review

For Love or Money

Article excerpt

I WOULDN'T TRADE MY THREE years at the Concord Monitor for anything ("A Special Place," May). Mike Pride helped me become the reporter I am today. But Stephanie Hanes' statement that low salaries were "pretty much a daily bitch," is understating the truth. We complained hourly about our low salaries. Nonetheless, what a great place to start a career.

BEN SCHMITT

Reporter and Concord Monitor

alumnus 1993-96

Detroit Free Press

Detroit, Michigan

SUSAN Q. STRANAHAN'S INTRIGUING story on the good journalism done at the Concord Monitor nonetheless buries some very salient information. A paper making a profit in excess of 20 percent ought to pay the help a lot better.

Reporters are starting at less than $25,000 a year. Even Editor Mike Pride, "cool" as he may otherwise be, admits it's hard to live on that in Concord. And just what does Mr. Pride make, I wonder?

The saddest part of the story, surely, is the 43-year-old reporter who reluctantly left the paper last year after 13 years. Couldn't own a house and have kids on whatever it was that he was getting paid. So now he's making $52,000 a year working for a nonprofit group. Sorry, but still not a lot of money.

The Monitor owes so much more to its dedicated staff. Paying them livable wages would no doubt make it an even better paper, and still quite profitable.

JIM MCGRATH

Chief editorial writer

Albany Times Union

Albany, New York

READING YOUR VACAVILLE piece ("Vacancies in Vacaville," March) took me back several decades to the Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, Texas. My beat in those days included the federal court. One day as I was scanning the bulletin board in the federal building I saw a notice seeking a janitor. You can imagine my dismay to discover the starting salary for a person to clean the toilets and sweep the floor in the federal building was higher than my salary for covering trials. …

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