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pay inequalities at Gannett newsrooms

Study shows huge pay inequalities at Gannett newsrooms

Women and journalists of color are largely underpaid compared to their peers at 14 unionized newsrooms owned by Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, according to a new study by labour union NewsGuild.

NewsGuild’s analysis showed that the median full-time salary for women employees in fall 2020 was $47,390, while the median salary for men employees was $57,235, representing a pay gap of $9,845. The largest gender pay gap was at ‘The Arizona Republic’, where women’s median salary was 61% of men’s salary. This gap costs women nearly $30,000 in median yearly earnings, NewsGuild says.

At the same time, journalists of color earned a median salary of $48,006, or $5,246 lower than the median salary for white journalists, who earned $53,252. Again ‘The Arizona Republic’ holds the lead in the racial pay gap, as the median pay for employees of color was 63% of white workers’.

The disparities seem to be even higher for women of color and veteran female journalists. Women of color earned $15,727 less, or 73% of white men’s median salary, while women with at least 30 years of experience at Gannett newspapers had a median salary that was $27,026 less than their male peers’.

“I remember the punched-in-the-gut feeling I had the moment I learned that a young male reporter with just a few years of experience had nearly the exact same salary that I had, despite my two decades as a working journalist,” said one employee, according to the labor union that represents thousands of journalists.

White men make up nearly half of Gannett workforce

The study found that employees at Gannett newspapers were overwhelmingly white and male. About 78% of employees were white, while 59% were men. Nearly half were white men.

When looking at individual newspapers, most employed more men than women. ‘The Arizona Republic’ had a nearly even split, while only the ‘Knoxville News Sentinel’ employed more women than men.

Gannett employees are overwhelmingly white

The journalists in the study were less racially diverse than the U.S. as a whole. Nearly 78% of workers in the 14 newsrooms were non-Hispanic white. The remaining employees self-identified as 8.6% Hispanic, 6.4% Black, 3.4% Asian and 3.8% other racial groups.

Newsrooms are less racially diverse than the communities they serve

The union also found 13 out of the 14 media organizations were whiter than the communities that they covered. Tennessee’s ‘Knoxville News Sentinel’ was the exception. The ‘Florida Times-Union’ was the least representative with 91% of staffers being white and the county being 52% white.

Gannett disputes the union’s findings

Gannett disputes the union’s findings of pay inequities, company spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton wrote in an emailed statement.

“The NewsGuild-CWA issued a misleading document based on outdated data alleging pay inequities on a small subset of Gannett’s more than 250 newsrooms. We strongly disagree with its methodology and its findings,” Anton wrote. “Gannett is a leader in the industry. Our market-driven approach to compensation ensures a fair review by role and responsibility level with considerations for geographic differences.”

Gannett pledged last year “to make its workforce as diverse as the country by 2025 and to expand the number of journalists focused on covering issues related to race and identity, social justice and equality.”

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