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Should salary be a secret?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Stitch, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I don't know if anyone agrees with me, but I disclosed what I made in a thread on my old job. It was a secret when I was there, but after I left, should salary numbers be secret?

    I don't think I'm out of line because management uses secrecy to keep pay as low as possible. If you knew the person next to you made more than you, you can make a case for more money.

    Disclosing salary has consequences, though, because it can cause hard feelings.
  2. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    No. Not before, during or after employment.
  3. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    I guess it depends on the employer. You don't want to burn bridges or piss of current employers. Some places won't care or will care only somewhat. Others will disavow you.

    I personally am in the middle. I don't think talking openly in the newsroom is OK but talking privately when the topic comes up is OK. It should be discreet. My roommate and I discussed what we make and found out until his recent raise I actually make more them him despite being here 2 months to his 20. He's in news and by that I mean he is the new desk. We technically have 4-5 news people but the others have specific areas while he gets all the oil. Being Williston, the oil is roughly 90 percent of the news.
  4. peacer84

    peacer84 Member

    I would avoid discussing salary, but I guess if you care that little about the people who have to fill your position and what they have to go through, then do what you go to do.

    I know a successful paper in the mid-teens for circulation that starts its sports reporters out at 24,000 a year. I sincerely doubt, Stitch, that your paper wants to lowball a reporter.

    I think we can all agree that when someone leaves a position who makes an above-average salary, a newspaper (especially a daily under 10,000 circ.) is going to try to hire someone it can pay a lower salary. I don't think that's a surprise to anyone.

    That being said, I suppose you could say that the newspaper industry isn't the government in which they don't have to disclose salary. More importantly, I would check your handbook or manual, as I'm pretty confident your newspaper's company, Stitch, has a policy against talking salary with employees and I would assume that includes the general public.

    With THAT being said, ordinarily, I wouldn't expect it really to be a big deal, assuming of course you're not breaking company policy.
  5. peacer84

    peacer84 Member

    Why? If the reporter next to me has been here for 10 years, and I just started, where's my case for more money? I think you deserve it if you feel your putting the time in, but if a reporter worries about getting his lunch break, or about the time clock, and doesn't have that great of a byline count, you have to wonder what their case would be for making as much as someone who's willing to go the extra mile.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    What if it took that reporter 10 years to get to the salary you just got hired at?

    Or, more realistically, it's the situation in LevinTBlack's post about his making more money after 2 months than his coworker who's been there 20 months. All things being equal -- and sometimes they're not, of course -- shouldn't two people with similar qualifications and similar job descriptions be making the same?

    But there are discrepancies all over the place, mostly because nobody knows what anybody else is making. Employers keep it that way because they know it's better for business. It's certainly not better for employees, though. The more information you have, the better you can negotiate a fair rate.
  7. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    My salary these days is a public record, but when I was in sports journalism I got in trouble because my salary got out. It wasn't my fault, though. We got paid and I walked across the street to cash my check. While I was gone, a co-worker went into my desk and took a peek at my pay stub, then confronted the boss about a discrepency. Somehow, in my boss' mind, this was all my fault.
  8. LevinTBlack

    LevinTBlack Member

    I can see why you no longer work there.
  9. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I have no idea what anybody I work with gets paid and I will never tell anyone how much I make.
    I don't even know what we pay the writers I supervise. There's another mid-level manager who deals with that stuff. I don't want to know what anybody makes.
  10. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    I guess that was the one good thing about union scale. We all knew what everyone made.
  11. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Not true if your shop is one that encourages merit pay. Company then dispenses that as it sees fit, above the minimums. Can produce peers working side by side, same hrs/experience/commitment, for much different paycheck. Big subjective element, as much compensation is.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    It's not caring that little about people. It's trying to have people make better choices, especially if they know a paper can pay more instead of going to corporate to pay for the CEOs lake house or another toy. That's the fact. Companies don't want to pay more than they have to.

    As for policy, I don't have to abide by any policy. I think if someone knew a paper was willing to pay more, they should try to get it, especially when management is telling employees to apply for SNAP and Medicaid. That is insulting.

    Maybe if more people expected more money, the pay rate would go up. You know, supply and demand.

    I'm not much of a Suze Orman fan unless she's yelling at Octomom. She says open the books.

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