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Sunshine For Pesos

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HeinekenMan, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I think most are familiar with one of the more infamous JJ.com job postings. It's the paper in the Keys that notes the high cost of living and notes that it's a small price to pay for living in paradise.

    Like so many other JJ.com postings, it offers not a hint of a salary range.

    I met a fella who worked down there, and he told me last week that the pay is poor and that he lived in a one-bedroom apartment because that was all he could afford.

    On a whim, I e-mailed the editor after seeing a news-side posting. I requested some idea of the pay scale. The reply I received included a refusal to release pay scale information "to the whole world." That was a major red flag for me. I understand that it's protocol for a lot of places, but how can you withhold this information when you note the high cost of living? Can I assume that the pay sucks?

    I'm tired of these people. It's not like we're filling out an application at McDonald's. Writing a strong cover letter and fine-tuning a resume require a lot of effort. Plus, there's the whole cost of sending the thing. Sure, it might be just a $1 for postage. But shouldn't we have the courtesy of at least a salary range?
  2. joe

    joe Active Member

    Why do you hate capitalism, HeinekenMan? Are you a commie?
  3. Heinekenman: if you have to ask you can't afford it.
  4. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Don't fret. After what I've heard, I wouldn't work there even if the pay was fair.

    I just wonder whether they understand the whole concept of capitalism, which is that you get what you pay for.
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I can understand them not wanting to talk money. The paper had about 7K circ last time I looked, and they're being honest that the pay is going to be bad -- the message they're sending is that you're going to starve, so don't apply unless you are hard-up for work or want to work in Key West really bad. My first full-time job, the pay was awful and people got incredibly jealous and pissy if they found out you were making $10 per week more than they were. So I can understand why they might not want to tell you any more than they have to. I guess you find out when/if they make an offer.
  6. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    the cost of living in key west is a problem not just for reporters. you have to be tremendously wealthy to live comfortably there. as for not releasing the pay range, that's just stupid. they must figure they get enough applicants without releasing the scale that they don't have to.
  7. For the benefit of the young'uns out there just breaking into the biz who haven't caught on to these sort of things yet, if you're in touch with a newspaper and and they refuse to even give you a ballpark figure on the salary range if you request it, that is a gigantic red flag that tells you to stay far, far away. If they respond in such a manner to something this simple, that's likely an indicator of how they conduct themselves in general.
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I don't know. You read most advice about interviewing and they tell you not to bring up money, let the interviewer do that. Now I must say when I've had some doubts that a place could afford me and interviewing meant spending my days off flying thousands of miles, I have said, "Just so we don't waste each other's time, what kind of money are we talking about, ballpark?" But I wouldn't do that if I really wanted the job.
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Man, did I learn that on my second job, when I innocently told somebody at a party what I was making. That information FLEW around the newsroom; ME called me in and asked what the hell I was thinking. I was thinking, "Boy, that was dumb, and I'll never do it again."

    See, I think this is a really sensible approach and don't know why it isn't done more. Why not save everybody's time and money and at least get an idea up front.
  10. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I had an interview with a fairly decent paper about four years ago or so. Liked the SE, liked the staff (at least the ones I met), adored the town and was looking to make a move. But money never came up until the job offer itself, and it was a $2,500/yr pay cut. He admitted when I turned it down that he held off on the money for as long as he did because he figured it wouldn't be enough. Why he couldn't have just told me early in the interview (or better still, in the phone call setting it up), I don't know. Perhaps he figured I'd like the town and the paper so much on the visit that I'd jump to move there even with the sub-par pay. Didn't quite happen.
  11. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I had a sports editor job I interviewed for where the same thing happened. It wasn't exactly a pay cut, but it was the same money for more responsibility. I really liked the town and situation, too, and it was an NYT paper. They ALMOST had me, so their strategy could have worked. But again, waste of everybody's time, ultimately.
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Seriously. At that level, the extra money means buying brand-name ramen noodles instead of generic.
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