Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Another way of looking at things

Thanks to Nick Jungman, we have the top 20 minimum salaries for reporters at Guild papers, comparing the cost of living with Dallas'. He made his calculations using this cost-of-living calculator.
1. Minneapolis Star-Tribune ($1165) ($60,580)
2. Baltimore Sun ($1131) ($58,812)
3. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ($1116) ($58,032)
4. Buffalo News ($1100) ($57,200)
5. St. Paul Pioneer Press ($1096) ($56,992)
6. St. Louis Post-Dispatch ($1083) ($56,316)
7. Chicago Sun-Times ($1077) ($56,004)
8. Toledo Blade ($1037) ($53,924)
9. Cleveland Plain Dealer ($1009) ($52,468)
10. Philadelphia Inquirer ($999) ($51,948)
11. Denver Rocky Mountain News ($950) ($49,400)
12. Denver Post ($944) ($49,088)
13. Boston Globe ($886) ($46,072)
14. Washington Post ($812) ($42,224)
15. Honolulu Advertiser ($726) ($37,752)
16. Honolulu Star-Bulletin ($718) ($37,336)
17. New York Times ($619) ($32,188)
18. San Francisco Chronicle ($584) ($30,368)
19. San Jose Mercury News ($572) ($29,744)
20. Dow Jones ($514) ($26,728)
I wish lists like this existed for non-union papers. It's nice to get a feel for what people are paying. But it's also important to remember that these are the listed minimums. You can easily make much more than this. I'd like to assume that's happening at some of the best papers on the list.

Then again, they don't list the minimum just for fun. Someone has to make it.


At 2:13 PM, May 18, 2004, Blogger Bill said...

Damn! Nick beat me to it. Here's what I got, using this salary calculator and figuring out what those salaries would equal in Peoria, Ill. I calculated the cost of living for a renter rather than a buyer, borrowing the stereotype of the copy editor as a troubled loner who moves around a lot.

1 Cleveland Plain Dealer ($1,150 in Peoria dollars)
2 Minneapolis Star-Tribune ($1,131)
3 St. Paul Pioneer Press ($1,102)
4 Toledo Blade ($1,077)
5 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ($1,060)
6 Rocky Mountain News ($1,052)
7 Denver Post ($1,045)
8 Buffalo News ($1,014)
9 Philadelphia Inquirer ($997)
10 St. Louis Post-Dispatch ($988)
11 New York Times ($961)
12 Baltimore Sun ($934)
13 San Jose Mercury News ($921)
14 Dow Jones (South Brunswick, N.J.) ($910)
15 Boston Globe ($893)
16 Honolulu Advertiser ($841)
17 Honolulu Star-Bulletin ($832)
18 Chicago Sun-Times ($794)
19 Washington Post ($776)
20 San Francisco Chronicle ($715)

This is a lot of fun (I'm the guy who spent his lunch break at an early job figuring out the population density of the states and provinces), but there are enough variables to make it all nearly meaningless. These are top minimums, not actual salary numbers. Papers are free to pay more, and they do. The average newsroom salary at the Washington Post has been rumored to be $80,000, and I've heard that number for at least eight years, so it's probably higher now. And you don't have to live in the city where your employer is based. Choose, say, Cheverly, Md., instead of Washington, D.C., and those Post numbers start to look a lot better.

At 2:24 PM, May 18, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

It is fun. I've been endlessly calculating numbers all morning. (A group of copy editors who like to plug numbers! You don't get that everywhere. Perhaps that's a new Capital Idea motto.)

The exact numbers mean little, but I think it can give some insight.

When I interviewed in Philadelphia, it was mentioned, though. "We pay less than the New York Times, but if you compare cost of living, we come out way ahead."

At 8:22 PM, May 18, 2004, Blogger Nick said...

In my childhood, I made a list of the 3,000 biggest cities in the country, using the populations listed in the back of my Rand McNally Road Atlas. (Trying to get to the ranking of my hometown of Alva, Okla., population 6,000 or so at the time.) So, you don't think this is standard copy editor behavior?

At 10:27 PM, May 18, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe we're a strange subset. I'd say the majority are plain petrified of numbers. How many times have you heard the "I got into journalism to avoid math" line?

But I don't see why more editors don't like numbers. There's an order and organization to them that I find fascinating. Not to mention what they reveal.

At 10:29 PM, May 18, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

Um, that was me.

At 12:47 PM, May 19, 2004, Blogger Nick said...

That was you what? Trying to find the ranking of Alva, Okla.? Weird!

At 12:51 PM, May 19, 2004, Blogger Nicole said...

No, it was me who was accidentally anonymous. It would be strange indeed if I were trying to find the population rank of Alva.


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