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November 30, 2012

Journalists’ pay down, but happiness up since 2002

By William Turvill

Journalists have seen a decline in real term income of £3,315 over the last decade and ten per cent fewer feel they are “fairly rewarded”, according to a new survey.

Research presented by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) this week shows that although the average journalist earns £5,000 more per year compared with 2002, this has not kept up with inflation.

In 2002 the average journalist earned £22,500 per year, compared with £27,500 today. If it has risen in proportion with RPI average salary would now stand at £30, 815. In that time, the percentage who feel they are “fairly rewarded” fell from 50 per cent to 40 per cent.

Of those surveyed, one person earned more than £100,000 and the average was calculated by the median of the salries in order to avoid distorting the data.

Although the study, Journalists at Work, 2012, has not yet been completed, organisers have already surveyed 1,000 journalism professionals.

It has been set up ten years after Journalists at Work, 2002, was published.

Despite the decline in pay, 83 per cent feel their working hours are “reasonable” and 81 per cent enjoy their job, compared with 78 per cent in 2002.

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Some 65 per cent of the surveyed journalists believe that work intensity has increased over the past decade and 83 per cent say it is more important now to be multi-skilled.

The survey also shows that there has been a “big increase” in the number of self-employed journalists – they are now 28 per cent, compared with 14 per cent of working people in the general population.

There is also a disproportionate number of journalists, 52 per cent, working in London and the South East compared with 29 per cent of the general population.

In terms of training, there has been a five per cent increase in the number of journalists with a journalism qualification – 63 per cent compared with 58 per cent in 2002.

Meanwhile, 73 per cent of those with a qualification have an NCTJ one, compared with 63 per cent in 2002.

The survey also shows that in the last three years 83 per cent of new entrants into journalism have done work experience, and 92 per cent of them said it was unpaid.

Some 68 per cent of journalists say they want to stay in the profession for the rest of their careers, compared with 74 per cent in 2002.

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