Commentary

The state of journalism here in North Carolina

North Carolina – A study released by SafeHome.org found North Carolina is the 34th best state for journalists to live and work or put another way, the 16th worst state for journalists to live and work. It depends on if you’re a “glass half empty or glass half full” person.

Low pay. Stressful work. Terrible schedules. People yelling “fake news!” at you — or worse. The modern American journalist has a mostly thankless job, but it’s one that nonetheless is crucial to any functioning democracy.
“Despite being the only industry outside of government mentioned in the Bill of Rights, the free press has been under fire in recent years including loss of jobs, decreasing print circulation and increasing anti-media sentiment,” the report goes on to say.

There’s no doubt that the past few decades have been tough on journalism in the United States. Newspaper circulation has plummeted, and newsrooms have shed thousands of jobs. In fact, between 2006 and 2017, employment in newspaper editorial departments fell by nearly 50%.
Adding to the average journalist’s stress over whether they’ll even have a job tomorrow is the continuing erosion of the public’s trust in news media. While the numbers have ticked up over the past couple of years, public confidence in the news media fell to just 32% in 2016, down from a post-Watergate high of 72% in 1976.

The SafeHome.org study released on The Best Places for Journalists to Live and Work uses the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Zillow, and U.S. Free Press Tracker to arrive at the results released. “The rankings were determined by factoring in the latest statistics and trends in employment opportunities, median salary, cost of living and safety concerns including attacks on media members,” said the study.

Below are North Carolina findings from the study:

  • Journalist Employment per 1,000 Jobs: .213%
    Projected Change in Employment by 2026: -12.50%
    Percentage of Journalist Attacks in Last Three Years: 1%
    Annual Median Wage: $33,990
    Median Monthly Rent: $1,255

Below are national findings from the study:

  • 26 journalists have been physically attacked in 2019
  • 5 best states for journalists are Oklahoma, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Delaware
  • 5 worst states for journalists are Oregon, Maryland, Tennessee, Alabama, and Iowa
  • 5 best cities for journalists are D.C., New York, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Louisville.
  • 5 worst cities for journalists are: San Jose, Nashville, Riverside, Baltimore and Buffalo.
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Clint Parker

Publisher & Editor Weaverville Tribune

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