One of the findings in a just-released salary analysis by the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild could lift an eyebrow or two in journalistic circles: White male reporters at The Post out-earn all other reporters by an average of 20 percent:
That chart outlines one of what the union terms “glaring examples of pay disparity” in the ranks of The Post, as reflected in numbers stemming from the 2014-2015 collective bargaining process. During those negotiations, the guild — whose bargaining unit includes approximately 850 employees in the newsroom and commercial sides of the paper — received salary data for every employee covered under its contract. It broke down the data by positions and drew comparisons on gender and race terms. Overall, the analysis discovered that men earn on average $89,932, to $76,804 for women. So women make about 86 percent of what men make, according to the guild’s numbers.
Based on a Wall Street Journal analysis of gender pay gaps across many industries, that 86 percent number makes The Post look very average. Women working as “news analysts, correspondents and reporters,” found a Journal study, earn 86 percent of what their male counterparts earn in this industry. Percentages aside, men make a median income of $56,430 and women $48,597, according to the Journal. Census Bureau figures show that women working full time in the United States make 79 percent of what men make — a gap that results from an array of factors.
Here are some other findings from the Post guild analysis:
*Men out-earn women in 8 of 12 job titles;
*Male columnists rake in $23,000 more than female columnists;
*White employees out-earn nonwhite employees in 9 of 12 job titles;
*Vis-a-vis their white counterparts, a nonwhite assistant editor makes about 15 percent less; a nonwhite columnist 13 percent less; a nonwhite producer 14 percent less; and a nonwhite editorial aide 25 percent less.
On the commercial side of The Post’s operations, the guild analysis turned up these gaps:
Post Deputy Managing Editor Tracy Grant cautions against placing too much credence in the numbers. “I think it’s unwise to look at the simple average or even the median because it doesn’t take into account such factors as experience, which any rigorous analysis of the data would include and which is information which The Post provides to the Guild,” says Grant in an email to the Erik Wemple Blog. “Furthermore the broad median figures don’t account for the nature of the positions. Without examining experience and role, it’s hard to draw any conclusions from these numbers.”
The results of the study, however, aren’t uniformly grim reminders of workplace legacies. In what the guild itself calls a “rare bright spot,” the analysis found that of 35 guild-covered multiplatform editors, the men (22) earn on average $80,863, while the women (13) earn on average $82,963. That’s 2.5 percent more than men.
The study follows concerns expressed by “many” Post journalists about unequal pay, according to the guild release. “Why we did it is pretty easy,” said Jenny Rogers, an Outlook assistant editor who serves on the guild’s leadership committee, at a guild lunchtime event where white males were in short supply. “People asked for it.” (Rogers is a former colleague and friend of the Erik Wemple Blog). Similar gripes this year prompted a union analysis of pay for journalists at the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s, as The Post’s Danielle Paquette reported in March. Full-time women at these Dow Jones properties earned 87 percent of what full-time men earned.
Amanda Erickson, an Outlook editor who serves on the guild’s leadership committee, cites the Dow Jones precedent in responding to management’s issues on methodology. After the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees completed its look at pay among the Dow Jones journalists, the company pledged a thoroughgoing review of the matter. “The Guild agrees that years of experience is a crucial element here,” writes Erickson in an email. “Unfortunately we only had numbers on years of service at the Post, which is not the same as years of experience. This is why we are asking the Post to do a more thorough review, similar to what the Wall Street Journal promised its employees when presented with disparities, that would hopefully be able to take years of experience into account.”
The guild itself has acknowledged that The Post’s newsroom has “grown and shifted a lot” since 2014. Yet it still cites these unanswered questions: “Is the Post systematically paying women and non-white employees less? Are white men given more, better raises? Is the organization hiring white men to fill the most high-profile lucrative positions?”
Fredrick Kunkle, a guild co-chair, issued this statement to the Erik Wemple Blog regarding the analysis:
We believe the problem is widespread at the Post and that the organization, despite complaints about disparity that go back decades, has not done enough to track or correct the situation. But we’re hoping the company will take a fresh look at the data and engage with us in ways to address the issue. As to fixing the problem, we are calling on the Post to work with us, and perhaps a consultant, to find remedies. For starters, we would like management to ensure that all women and minorities receive a pay review in the next 12 months–initiated by the company–to see whether those employees are receiving a salary on a par with their job duties and their peers. And we’re asking that the company work with us on a plan to reduce the inequities within five years. We recognize that this is a longstanding and complex problem not just at the Post, but society in general, and we’re eager to collaborate on ways to address it.
At the guild event, Kunkle said employees shouldn’t have to fight individual battles on the pay-equity front. The analysis, he said, “really shows how important it is to have a union here.”
Disclosure: The Erik Wemple Blog is a dues-paying guild member.