The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, June 06, 2005
 

Watergate: the financial effects


By Howard Kurtz:
One other effect of Watergate and the movie "All the President's Men" is that journalism became a more lucrative endeavor than it had been in the old "Front Page" days.

But, it says in USA Today,
Journalism salaries took a long-term nose dive. When President Nixon resigned, the two Washington Post reporters became folk heroes. Their book All the President's Men and its movie persuaded thousands of young people who might otherwise have been English or accounting majors to choose journalism.

This effect coincided with the lowering of barriers to women in the field, and suddenly newspapers and broadcasters could choose from a much larger talent pool. That gave them an interesting choice. They could pick the best and the brightest and raise the standards of journalism, or they could drive wages down by hiring those who would work for the least.

They chose the latter. Indiana University's decennial American journalist survey compared median income in 1970 and 1981 and discovered that (in inflation-adjusted 2005 dollars) the median income had dropped by $15,000 from pre-Watergate's $55,000 a year. There has been some ebb and flow, but the most recent 2001 survey found pay in real dollars was still 14% below the pre-Watergate level.



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