Why the WSJ discount when hiring biz journalists may no longer exist
Daniel Gross writes Tuesday about the long-range ramifications for The Wall Street Journal as a result of the phone hacking scandal currently ensnaring its parent company, News Corp.
Gross writes, “The Wall Street Journal, long (and still) the elite business publication in the U.S., never paid top-of-the-market salaries in New York media circles. Newspapers generally had pay scales less than magazines. And like the New York Times, the Journal offered good benefits, long tenure, pleasant working conditions and, above all, prestige. (It’s a lot easier getting your phone call returned when you work for the Journal than when you work for Plastics News.)
“But other media organizations are stepping up by investing in content (Yahoo!, Huffington Post, CNBC, Bloomberg and Reuters). And in New York in 2011, prestige can’t pay rent or private school tuition. Add to it the fact that the Journal is becoming a little less prestigious, in part due to shenanigans elsewhere in the Murdoch empire, and suddenly that outside offer can be quite compelling. In the years since Murdoch took over, the Journal has lost many of its stars to Bloomberg, Reuters, the New York Times, ProPublica and Fortune. The Journal used to get a discount on labor. Now, increasingly, it has to meet the market. And it may have to exceed it.
“That’s already the case at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. Whether you think it’s fair or not, much of the rest of the industry sees Fox News Channel as operating in a different sphere: more ideological, less serious, lower standards, more prone to clownish gaffes, and less respect among the people that matter to them. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Fox’s coverage of the hacking affair. (Fox & Friends team recently suggested we move on because lots of companies are victims of hacking. The hosts seemed not to grasp that the News Corp. unit was the one doing the hacking). A gig on Fox is less prestigious than one at CNN or ABC. It’s common for people to go from CNN to Fox, but not the other way, Kieran Chetry notwithstanding. Fox News has to pay above-the-market salaries to attract and retain talent. The same holds for Fox Business Channel, though in its case it has to pay a premium largely because its audience is so much smaller than CNBC and other cable news outfits.”
Read more here.