The Migration to PR

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Are we paying our reporters what they're worth?

I've been racking my brain lately, trying to figure out if there are any other careers more closely linked than journalism and public relations. I don't mean just working closely together, which they do; I'm talking about one serving as a source of labour for the other.

I am guessing that roughly half of the public relations and communications people working in this province are former media people (most of the remainder being graduates of communications-related diploma or degree programs).

The latest reporter to make the leap is Jamie Baker of The Telegram, who is going to write for the magazine published by the FFAW (it should be noted that, while he will advocate on behalf of fishers in his writing, Baker is not moving into a full-blown public relations position).

In recent years, I've noted what seems to be an increase in the migration of journalists over to communications. The current provincial government, in particular, seems to have an affinity for media toilers, though I can't say with any certainty that previous administrations didn't hire as many or more.

I won't offer any further comment on this today. Instead, I will toss the question out there to readers. I welcome comment on this issue from working journalists, as well as communications people who have already made the move over to the dark side'.

What is driving this exodus? I suspect that it's primarily a matter of money. Do governments and corporations pay that much more than the media (okay, I know, but how much more)? What should news outlets do to stem the tide and keep their people (and can they afford it)? Is this migration diminishing the quality of journalism in the province? Is the supply of young people coming into journalism enough to meet the demand? If you've recently made the jump, do you have any regrets? Or are you feeling good about the move? What do journalism students think about this issue?

I prefer you use your name if that's at all possible. You can remain anonymous if necessary, though I do need to confirm your identity. Please send your feedback to geoff_meeker(at)yahoo.ca, or send me a telephone number and we can talk, and I will compile your comments into a post over the next few days.

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  • Bob
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    You could answer this question yourself. The answer is simple, money and job security. Non-CBC journalism jobs are notoriously poorly paid. After years of struggle, many journalists just give uo. You can hardly blame them.