Letters to the Editor
Readers write about why journalists deserve better pay, not lower.
Journalists deserve respect – and a decent wage
In regard to the May 19 Opinion piece, "Why journalists deserve low pay": I am amazed by author Robert G. Picard's argument that "journalists are not professionals with a unique base of knowledge such as professors or electricians."
Has Mr. Picard ever spent any time in journalism? Does he not realize that it takes years of (usually on-the-job) experience to understand how to ferret out a story and present it to the reader in an easily digestible yet informative fashion?
Unlike professors, journalists do not acquire knowledge in order to selectively impart it to their audience. Rather, like electricians, they use it to do their job. Without this knowledge, they would simply rehash press releases, parrot officials' statements, and ignore important nuances in speeches and reports.
Many reporters also acquire specialized knowledge such as languages, science, and technical skills in order to bring you better news, faster.
It's easy to belittle the value created by journalists when you're writing from an ivory tower.
Alas, the esteemed professor of media economics Robert G. Picard fails to make his case in this commentary. His pure market analysis does not account for the existence of the BBC, PBS, NPR or any of the many vehicles that society has created to be sure it has news it needs to know – like investigative reporting that reshapes governments and protects citizens and consumers – not just the news it wants to know.
How an economist can ignore the many billions of dollars that go into nonprofit news systems, especially in Europe, where he's from, is beyond me. It appears, at least in this case, that it's not the journalists who have failed to prove their worth to society. It's the professor of economics who doesn't seem to be earning his pay.