WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Blocking the Poor From the Field of Journalism

Feb 19, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss whether journalism is a profession that’s becoming dominated by elites.

The conversation was sparked by an MSNBC piece: How lower-income Americans are shut out of journalism. The article points out how future success in journalism can depend on attending the right college and making the right connections.  Such opportunities are not always available to those from low income backgrounds.

Shop Talk panelist Lisa Kernek pointed out journalism was once considered a blue collar job, and panelist Mike Murray said that journalists once learned the craft by doing it rather than being taught about it in college. But now many jobs require a college degree.

In addition, journalism internships are seen as crucial in making connections and getting one’s foot in the door. Many of those internships don’t provide any pay. Someone from a well-to-do background might be able to afford to spend time at an unpaid internship while someone from a lower income family might not.

The panelists also point out that journalists at the top of the trade and network TV anchors often receive huge paychecks, leaving them out of touch with the issues and concerns of low and middle income Americans.