Battling The Gender Pay Gap...
Even In Local Newsrooms

Battling The Gender Pay Gap... Even
In Local Newsrooms

Written by Lois Lane
🕒 September 27, 2020

It’s time to talk about the gender pay gap in local newsrooms. Imagine anchoring the morning shift, and producing two to three packages each week, while balancing public appearances, on behalf of the station, alongside a male co-anchor… who happens to make more money than you do, for the 👏🏽 exact 👏🏽 same 👏🏽 work.

This goes for female anchors, MMJs, photographers, and producers with the same amount of experience as their male counterparts. Most women often earn less for identical roles.

So what’s a girl to do?

There’s a lot of research behind this gender pay gap. Chances are you, or your station, have even reported on these studies. That disparity in wages is prevalent even in the local news industry, where experience and hard work don’t always equal better pay.

Even being aware of the issue can be challenging. Because, unless you’re in a union, it’s likely you don’t have a clue about your coworkers’ incomes.

You should always argue for more money during negotiations, because you are your own best—perhaps only—advocate. However, say you discover, after signing your John Hancock to the contract, that your male co-worker is earning more? There are a number of steps you can take to at least get your bosses to listen.

Create a list of your daily duties,
and describe the level of involvement required for that output.

Take a specific week as an example, and be extremely detailed about the work you produced from Monday to Friday.

Your list should also include any time you stepped up to the plate, to assist with any work that fell outside your purview. For example, writing extra readers for the show, or helping the web producer clip a couple stories for the website.

Before arguing for a raise, have a backup list of non-monetary benefits you could argue for, in the event that your boss claims there’s no budget for a raise. These benefits could include a modest clothing and makeup stipend of $500 plus, a few extra days of paid vacation, or even a cell phone upgrade.

Although an increase in income is the ideal outcome, you don’t have to walk away from the conversation empty-handed, if your boss pulls the “no money” card.

Keep in mind that your co-worker’s higher wage is not their fault,
and they shouldn’t be blamed for earning more than you.

In Hollywood, there have been instances of male actors advocating for comparable salaries for their underpaid co-stars. Your male counterpart may be able to backup the work you do, and throw in a good word for you to the boss. For instance: “Abby is a real team player, who goes above and beyond to put on our best show.”

Recognition can be hard to come by in this industry. However, your boss may see your value more clearly if the pitch comes from another respected newsroom employee.

You can’t get what you don’t ask for, and sadly, many of us never ask for the compensation we deserve. That could be partially because of the common phrase, “Journalists don’t do it for the money.”

But, at the end of the day, you have to be able to feed yourself and pay rent. So part of the work must be for the money.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more compensation. The worst that can happen is you continue making the money you do now, but at least you’ll get practice for future negotiations when your next contract comes around.

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