Saturday, January 27, 2007

Here's a Real Biz Journalism Scandal

I hope the Maria Bartiromo kerfuffle brings attention to the real issues in business journalism.

For example, take a look at a memo published on the Poynter website that was sent to Dow Jones employees by their union. It observes that Dow Jones executives are demanding "staggering" increases in health care premiums while granting themselves hefty bonuses.

These bonuses are actually far from humongous when compared to some of the well-publicized largess bestowed on Bob Nardelli, Goldman Sachs, etc., but they raise an important issue (albeit one the union doesn't mention): as a result of publisher greed, journalism is increasingly a profession for the children of the independently wealthy.

Adjusted for inflation, the salary that I received at The Hartford Courant many moons ago -- to work as a cub reporter in a small city in southeastern Connecticut -- is higher than starting salaries today for small-publication financial journalists in New York City. And that's for jobs that actually pay a salary, since no-pay internships are common.

Now that is a scandal, one that effects the coverage that you see in the media, particularly the secondary outlets, every day.

UPDATE: Mind you, trademarking "Money Honey," while not scandalous, is really in the far out wastelands of bad taste. (Hat tip: Gawker).

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.

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