When I started out, small market media outlets would find ways to pay recent J-school graduates sub-minimum wage and make them feel grateful to even get that. A surprising number of journalists, even TV news anchors, will have second jobs in small markets.
A place that tried to recruit me in Indiana wanted me to report the news in the morning, then sell advertising for the news in the afternoon, and half of my pay would be sales commissions. Naturally, I turned it down. I dated a newspaper reporter who did her reporting second shift, then worked third shift at a small factory.
Once you get to a medium-sized market (30 and up), you can make enough to survive, if you don't have a lot of debt or expectations.
It really wasn't until I got into a top ten market that I was able to keep up enough to stop getting calls from bill collectors. Once I got into a top-five market, then I could live well.
I loved journalism. I loved reporting. I loved telling stories. I hated the pay and the industry and got out.
Here’s the list for the us
That can be turned into additional income through book deals, which in turn can be turned into movie deals, etc.
Also makes me wonder about my local news celebrities. But then my most easily brought to mind is a weather forecaster in a beautiful climate...
Most likely connections (and talent). They have also almost certainly done some journalism work, even if only freelance and student newspaper, so they have a resume to point to. The more common historical route was to work through a bunch of small market papers as the parent suggests.
>recipe for a very slow to grow or advance career
Not sure why--at least more than journalism generally. If I had a choice, I'd get on board the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times early on rather than spend a decade "paying my dues" covering high school sports and whatever else mostly passes for news in a 10,000 person town.
What an asinine remark.
Do you want the work? Do you want to be in the industry at all? Then you take the jobs that are on offer.
Who wouldn't skip to the top if they could? In all other cases, you take the long road, the hard way, the slog, and tough it out because you're made of thick skin, stern stuff, and strong character. You don't bail because it's hard.
Leaving aside the question of whether, say, Google is actually a great place to work or not, I'd say more or less the same thing to a would-be software developer who didn't want a job in the field unless they could get a top-paying position at Google HQ.
Someone who is the "top of their field" and gets employed at Google, like someone that people in a specific technology would know of, would be making a lot more. It depends a lot on what that field is, but making over a million dollars yearly wouldn't be surprising for an individual contributor.
For a more "middle" statistic, someone who is average-quality for a Google engineer, and has five years of experience, would be making around $350,000.
My source is https://www.levels.fyi/ and the verbal descriptions of what exactly the levels mean come from working there. L3 is a new grad, L5 is a solid contributor with some experience, someone "top of their field" would be L6, L7, or more.
How much money you make does not equate to your worth as a human being.
Software engineering is not that difficult.
There are lots of things just as difficult if not more difficult than software engineering.
The majority of software engineers contribute very little to society if anything.
Just because you have a good software engineering job does not make you a successful person or better than other people who are pursuing other ways of living their lives.
It is, however, difficult to land advertising deals that are needed to fund the company.
Doing research, then understanding and distilling it, developing contacts, networks, and sources - these seem like the hard parts of journalism.
If "display text on a screen at scale" wasn't hard it was it wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar industry with crazy high salaries. Not to mention, it's not just displaying the text but everything that goes into it - figuring out product market fit, getting hundreds or thousands of engineers organized and productive, logistics of data centers and hardware.
If writing good news and good software both come easily to you, you just might be an outlier. Or you're taking a very superficial view of both kinds of work.
Though I do agree with you on the other points, although it seems like you are bitter about something.
That said, I work with a company that makes stuff that does contribute to society in a positive way, and because of that I make less than most.
When I started to teach myself, I knew I never wanted to work on something that was involved in ads, data collection for ads, or making junk software, which seems to be the focus of the majority of software companies.
This is pure survivor bias talking while ignoring impediments that make switching careers, retraining, &c., not a viable path for most people. The fact that there are structural impediments does not make it difficult.
Your comment can literally be applied to any other industry that someone might try to get into when changing careers. It's a poor reason.
I think that is their point. Software developers are no different than any other craft.
We went to 5 day work weeks with full pay during the industrial revolution - it's probably high time to consider a 4 day week / 6 hour day with full pay as a result of the increased efficiency since.
That said, the opportunities for learning and growing as an engineer are just as large in software engineering as other disciplines (probably greater given the current economic environment). Most software engineers have shaken off a lot of this hubris by the time they have 'senior' in front of their title.
We also, as a profession, have a real problem with the rift between our enthusiasm for the work we do and its real world complexity. An enormous chunk of all software development work could be approximated or even substituted entirely with a reasonable set of Excel spreadsheets (spreadsheets, of course, being the world's most popular software development environment); many of us spend entire careers simply plumbing one set of database columns into another set of form fields and tables. Could I teach a bunch of journalists to model a bunch of business processes in Google Sheets? Yes, I think I could.
If you think that's a laughable comparison, I'd ask you to consider whether your conception of the work of a journalist isn't akin to my hypothetical conception of the work of a software developer.
The original commenter's thought process is as absurd as a layperson bragging they could just as easily produce a functioning website with production-ready code because they've learned how to write the <link> and <script> tags needed to include Bootstrap and jQuery. It's not the code itself that makes a tech company. Just as it is not just words strung together in paragraph form that makes a news org.
And that's even not that new, already a hundred years ago there were highly successful news organizations that thrived not despite but because of bad journalism, exploiting misleading sensationalism to its full potential.
> And that's even not that new, already a hundred years ago there were highly successful news organizations that thrived not despite but because of bad journalism, exploiting misleading sensationalism to its full potential.
No argument there. And the golden era of American journalism – e.g. the 1970s to 1990s – produced great journalism and printed money for its owners (30%+ profit margins were not unheard of), but it's because established outlets had a virtual monopoly in their regions, especially newspapers (because TV/radio killed the need for evening newspapers, and in smaller cities, multiple newspapers).
But it has never been easy to create a successful/functional news org by just doing journalism. Just as it has never been easy to build a useful tech startup by creating production ready code.
The original post about journalists vs. SWEs is a comment on the content-mill, lowest common denominator nature of huge swathes of the current online publishing landscape, not about the difficulty(??) of Journalism vs. Coding or whatever.
Even reasonably well done journalism is like debugging complex technical problems, but instead of working with systems that behave in a well-defined manner, you are dealing with people and complex wetware systems. They do not behave well at all.
Journalist hunting for confirmation or corroboration of a good lead is like a software engineer doing root-cause analysis in a byzantine maze, where reliability of information is suspect and all interactions with various interfaces must be assumed adversarial. Or at best to provide wildly incomplete data.
And the final output, the article that eventually gets published? Ask yourselves: have you ever written postmortems that must make sense to an audience who do not have the technical background to understand the nuances of the problem domain? Audience who will actively try to misunderstand what you have written, and extract soundbites out of context? Could you include enough information in the postmortem to pre-emptively defuse such attempts, so that you could trivially quote a section to point out the strawman attempt?
That's what proper journalism is like. And I consider myself privileged to have worked with people that; they taught me skills I could not have picked up in the university or most workplaces.
This is an accurate description of most of the news I see. For every piece of news that's actual original journalism, there's 2 articles that essentially amount to summarizing C-Span and another 2 that are essentially blog posts. And then there's the editorial section that really is essentially a collection of blog posts.
My point being that there's a middle ground where we simply have more software folk inside, or close to, the news room. Consider that as more information is created/stored (regardless of government, corporations, or private), the requirement for collecting/parsing/cleaning through that information for the news room will become harder and harder. I'm sure some phase transition will happen, but probably not for a while.
They were trying to recruit more. This was 5 years ago. They were ahead of the curve and I think they were so ahead of the curve they realized that journalism was a dead end here and closed up shop.
Also "learn to code". heh.
There's so much more that I want to say to you but I'll leave it there. You are wildly incorrect.
The basic information gathering skills of a junior reporter would be completely foreign to most engineers. These are real skills like navigating a FOIA request or pulling financial information from public filings. Soft skills like effective interviewing, structuring an article, translating technical topics to non-technical audiences, writing good headlines.
If your idea of a functional newsroom is a wordpress instance, sure, but the hubris here is cringeworthy and demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of the work that goes into good reporting.
> and some say that the news is just a loss leader for the media a
If you use the phrase "some people say..." at the New York Times, you're fired, because it's international shortcode for I-just-pulled-this-theory-from-....
You don't know that, and that's not terrible. But you should at least be aware of how little you know about the profession you're so keen on ridiculing.
So few people understand this. Even engineers who undervalue salespeople misunderstand this as well.
No matter what your job is, at a company you either cost money or you bring in money.
You want to be on the "bring in money" side of the business 99 times out of 100. The career path of being "obviously valuable" and a bottom-line employee is difficult. While I've been there and it's rewarding, one change in management where someone comes in who doesn't "get it" and you're screwed (and usually so is the company).
But if a person cost money and provided no value a rational company would fire them. Either almost every company is insanely dumb or you need the employees not directly bringing in wads of cash to support the ones that don't.
This isn't an original idea of mine, if you want to see discussion of the issue Google "cost centers and profit centers", the technical terms for those sides.
To provide a totally trivial example suppose your business is going to people handing out free money, taking the money, and putting it in the bank. Suppose different people in different locations hand out different amounts of money. Suppose you have a data scientist who predicts the optimal route for your money getters to travel. This person is a cost center, and firing them would be dumb. Now suppose you have a caterer who makes sure they don't need to leave for lunch...
Edit: Looking at your last paragraph again I think you might possibly agree with me? I'm not sure if that quote is sarcastic...
I'm not saying that people that cost money don't provide value but your compensation will always be minimized by management and bad managers will look for reasons to remove you from the balance sheet, even if they're bad ones.
If you're bringing the company money, the company could be literally on fire and you can still command a sizeable salary.
If you're bringing in millions and could be replaced easily you'll make peanuts. If you're bringing in millions but don't negotiate your salary at all your employer will generally happily pay you less than your work is "earning".
If you're a dev for a newspaper you'll be paid around what other similarly qualified devs make irregardless of whether you work on their subscription system (allegedly profit center) or on the backend their journalists use to post content (allegedly cost center)
Edit: I absolutely agree our terms mean the same. That's why I said I was just providing the terms so people can Google existing articles on the subject.
So on that level, sure, journalism isnt a profitable career option. The stuff that you do get paid for likely can also be done be anyone else who can handle the advertisement financed industry. Its the basic crux of the problem, journalism isnt profitable. Trying to solve that problem by trusting the market will leave us without professional journalism.
edit: to elaborate on my question, when you imply that, unlike journalists, a room full of software engineers could write "production ready code in under a month" – what are you talking about, exactly? Because most readers of HN are well aware of tech firms pouring venture money into rooms full of software engineers and producing production code that is as ephemeral and lasting value as any blog.
Try getting your avg software engineer to get out from behind a desk, and go have a conversation with someone they have issues with.
What? Journalism can drive whole political landscape.
I can bring issues to people they'd never heard of else.
This can start such a huge feedback loop that has the power to help changing the world (for better or worse).
Journalism has a very high ROI on the long run.
High profile and quality Journalism, especially Investigative one, can be worth so much that its hard to comprehend, as it shows..
Lots of real journalism is really low quality, so this means you would have a product that is in some sense competitive.
The register is competitive with the times, they compete for clicks on reddit/google news and so on. I expect the quality to start out more akin to the register (or really, more akin to Wired).
Context is still useful. But if you already have the context, the pub may not be that useful.
Reporting on an announcement still has value if you position it relative to other products/market even if there's no secret information. Bringing in other perspectives.
Writing words - an opinion piece no less - and somebody - THE PUBLIC even - actually reads it.
Take that journalist! I bet you can't just write code with the ease I just wrote this very article!
There are works of journalism so carefully written that they have artistic value, but most of it has no such pretense.
Your run-of-the-mill software has good returns over periods way larger than the development time. Your average article has a low return over a mean life way shorter than the time it takes to produce it.
It's garbage opinion pieces and "analysis"(also opinion pieces). Take scraps of news and figure out how to craft a narrative out of it that appeals to a certain target audience with the least amount of effort. Use clicks to dial it in. Sprinkle a few reuters copy pastas. Maybe a few top 10 lists. Bingo bongo.
Isn't this how Buzzfeed got off the ground?!
The notion that news is something that nobody wants to pay for honestly strikes me as relatively new; people paid for newspapers and weekly newsmagazines for generations, and broadcast nightly news shows -- paid for indirectly through advertisements -- likewise lasted for decades.
Part of what I'm getting at is that I don't believe that it's that complex for someone to learn about proper story structure, investigation, and the various techniques in effectively getting a reader both interested and informed about the right things. Textbooks on the subject aren't particularly long for a reason. Competent writing may not be all that journalism is about, but it's a large part of it, and you even used it as your first example(a writing structure).
Just because I don't believe that journalism is as rigorous a profession as others doesn't mean that I believe that it's worthless, takes no talent, etc.
First, good journalism is extraordinarily important. (In case that's not obvious in times of Brexit and Trump I can expand on this. Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg released their documents to journalists.) Sure, most stories are not that important, but they are still an important part of a community.
Second, journalism is not trivial. Good writing is hard. Understanding a subject that you're not necessarily an expert in enough to explain it to others is hard. (Have a look at most documentation!)
Third, many journalists are not only very well educated, but with an admirable idealism (well, initially) and a desire to make the world a better place (really better, not peddling ads). A friend of mine was science journalist, and he had studied physics, philosophy, and psychology (with a PhD in the philosophy of mind).
The decline of journalism is something to lament (and I don't how their coding ability has any bearing on the subject whatsoever).
To put it in economic terms: I submit that the good work of journalists has massive positive externalities, while the work of lots of techies has huge negative externalities.
So then where exactly do you disagree with me? I never said that I don't appreciate journalism. What am I ignorant about?
It's no different than someone arguing they can be a successful software engineer just because they've literally created "production ready code" by incorporating Bootstrap.css and jquery.
How about you enlighten us as to what journalism actually entails? You completely dodged my question.
edit: just to expand on this, I'm declining to respond to your overly broad request, in the same way that I would decline to respond to someone who, after taking 10 minutes to roll out a beautiful SquareSpace template, mocks the tens of thousands of computer science grads who fail to be even 0.001% the success that dropout Mark Zuckerberg is.
Your original comment, without further clarification on your part, carries an amount of arrogance and likely ignorance that doesn't feel worthwhile to engage with in good faith. But for starters, you make a major categorical error by conflating "functioning news organization" – an entity that requires social and political power, entrepreneurship, and business acumen – as something that only requires a bunch of people (journalists, or not) getting together and doing whatever you think "journalism" is. No non-foolish journalist would ever argue that a roomful of journalists could produce a "functioning news organization" in a day or even in a month.
And recent counter-examples to your belief are plentiful. If it were possible to throw a bunch of software devs into a room to create a "functional news organization", then Facebook would not be throwing millions  at existing news orgs for the rights to display article headlines and previews, when it could be using the hundreds/thousands of not-fully-utilized software engineers it already has in-house to produce news, if your hypothesis were based in reality.
No, you're declining to reply because you don't know anything about journalism and are talking out your rear end.
See? Anyone can play your ridiculous game.
> Your original comment, without further clarification on your part, carries an amount of arrogance and likely ignorance that doesn't feel worthwhile to engage with in good faith.
What on earth are you talking about? You claimed to know something that I don't, and asking you to provide something more specific besides just saying I'm "ignorant" is perfectly reasonable. All you've done is gotten pissed at the fact that I don't see journalism as being as rigorous or valuable a profession as you believe they are, and you're reading my intent through that lens. Would you believe me if I told you that I am genuinely trying to describe the situation in an honest way?
> And recent counter-examples to your belief are plentiful.
Can you name a single one? Surely, you are much less ignorant about this than I am.
> If it were possible to throw a bunch of software devs into a room to create a "functional news organization", then Facebook would not be throwing millions  at existing news orgs for the rights to display article headlines and previews
First of all, I never said that software engineers + wordpress = The New York Times. Everyone seems to forget that there are tons of news organizations out there that aren't even a 10th of the scale of big-name newsrooms.
Second, Facebook paid those organizations as an incentive because publishing articles in Facebook potentially threatens their ad revenue because it could draw users away from their own websites. Facebook wants people to stay within Facebook and not navigate away when they look at a story, and they have the money to make that happen. Lots of people read NYT, WaPo, etc. It's an audience Facebook wants to keep. This has nothing to do with how monetarily valuable journalism is or how much talent it requires. These organizations were selling their audience to Facebook.
If you go read a few random article about a topic that you are an expert on, you will quickly realize that good journalism is not the norm.
Go ahead. Let's see it.
Luckily for me I was also learning how to program in C++ in my spare time and decided to take some computer science classes my freshman year of college to see what the field had to offer.
For CS students about to graduate, there are recruiters competing with each other at campus actively looking to hire you. On the other hand, the newly minted Journalism/English/Communications majors often struggle with freelance gigs with low rates. They hope to impress editors and get their "foot in the door" to a salaried writing job.
In fields where people are doing things primarily for love, they are willing to accept comparatively low salaries, crowded labor markets, and poor conditions to get a chance to do what they love for a living.
Source: am physicist.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard something along those lines while in schlol, I really wouldn't have to work a day in my life.
Advice like that is repeated ad nauseam in acadamia and I loathe it. Schools (at least in the US) do a terrible job at setting realistic expectations for labor markets. Worse, I think they are guilty of misleading students' perceptions of the market in fear of them otherwise dropping out.
When it comes to overcrowded labor markets, I put most of the blame on academia.
It has nothing to do with job security.
You're either fighting to get it or fighting to hold on to it.
Every competent woodworker does stuff that is at least as intellectually challenging as routine software development. But you don't see a lot of people saying "few are smart enough to cut mortises and tenons".
I remember about 20 years ago being just fascinated by the folks hired by my dad who came to do construction at our house, the key thing I learned watching them was that you needed the right tool for the job at hand (and you don't even have to own a lot of it -- you can rent from Home depot a lot of the big tools).
Insofar as smart coders are good engineers who know what tools to use and follow directions, they'd be pretty good at it. I do most of my car work in my garage myself, and I'm planning to build a room in my basement next year myself. Not only is it not that hard, it's actually extremely fulfilling and fun to do it yourself.
Watch someone hand-cut a dovetail (heck, watch 10 different people hand-cut them), then get a chisel and a coping saw and a marking gauge and try it yourself. It is not easy, even if you (as I did, to little effect) condense all the video tutorials you watch and the chapter in the Tage Fried book into written step-by-step plans.
You can absolutely do it! I'll eventually be able to do it semi-competently, I think. But I doubt you'll get there without learning to respect the challenge at least as much as you respect the work that went into getting you to a comparable level of coding aptitude.
Isn't every engineering job essentially applied physics?
That's an interesting phrasing. In other words: ability to provide a valuable and scarce service that people are willing to pay for?
Journalism is in a bad place in the United States. The number of journalists has shrunk dramatically, particularly at the local level, over the past decade. (In case it isn't immediately clear that journalism is a public good, the decline of local news has been linked to increases in local corruption and borrowing costs/debt as well as a decline in civic engagement in communities: see https://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/news-media/l... for a roundup).
I think there's a lot of work to be done from a number of angles in this space, including exploring new and innovative business models for news organizations; leveraging advances in technology and data science to improve existing products; and encouraging shifts in consumer attitude (similar to the way that attitudes towards paid entertainment content - movies, music, etc. - have shifted over the past 15 years).
For newspapers, the internet changed the competition field, from one or two competitors to dozens (maybe hundreds).
When that happened, US news consumers noticed some things. A multitude of (or maybe most) editors & journalists are profoundly, unconscionably lazy.
I'll offer some Examples.
1) Lots of ink but not a lot of news gathering:
Most (hundreds?) US news orgs all lead w/ the same ½doz headlines - and those are likely Reuters/AP/UPI reprints.
How many national stories are in play any given day? Six? I think there are dozens and dozens - and they're all ignored in favor for whatever editors think is sexy.
(I suppose editors tend to have similar tastes.)
Local stories are likely to be original. Well, except when they're parroting press releases. Or worse - they're parroting PR without any analysis or historical context. In this case the readers are given no tools to tell if the PR is crap or not. This turns the journalist into the official spokesbot of the police, government or local corporation. It's publishing but it isn't journalism.
2) Fluff: Sports journalism. Celeb journalism. etc. Is it journalism? Lets go in that direction some more. Stamp collecting journalism. Paint swirl journalism. Concrete curing journalism. There are people who like those things. Is that enough?
Consider this. Journalists are afforded extra 1st Amendment protections, to encourage them to unearth and reveal misdeeds by the powerful. The intent seems to be to help citizens learn where their rights and liberties might be being eroded. Reporting that depends on those protections would seem to be a strong candidate for what constitutes journalism.
I suggest that reporting on paint swirls and sport stats is probably a pretty safe thing.
3) Lastly, uneducated journalists:
One example. During the Obama administration I'd participate in journalism chats. I had a regular question. Did the reporters know that Pres Obama prosecuted more whistleblowers for espionage than all previous presidents combined?
Now this could be a good or bad stat, depending on one's perspective. Regardless, it was an undeniably powerful, historical statistic.
Depressingly, that stat wasn't well known by journalists. In fact most journalists seemed resistant to believing it or they felt the stat misrepresented some larger situation.
This lapse was a terrible thing. Whistleblowers have always been a incalculably valuable to journalists, who were oblivious to what seemed to be a crackdown by that administration.
(Fortunately, that's changing a bit & whistleblowers are suddenly revered again. Or at least that's the lip service.)
To me, if news orgs want to survive, they each need to bring something to the table. Some do. Some are exceptional. Some are consistently exceptional. Some screw it up occasionally but that's reasonable in the larger context.
But if news orgs are largely reprinting others' content, then they are largely not serving a critical public function. Worse, they're abdicating the duty inferred by their extra constitutional protections.
I believe those news orgs should die.
Newspapers used to rely on print advertising to make the majority of their money. And they made enough of it to do a good job.
It's much harder to report original stories when you have no revenue. Nowadays, advertising revenue is mostly driven by clicks, hence the rise in clickbait, reprinting of Reuters/AP/etc. (as opposed to "real" local stories) and fluff journalism as you mention. Local news has been hit the hardest because these newspapers made more of their money, percentage-wise, from advertising and classifieds.
(Also, worth noting: the link I provided contains studies showing that local news nowadays provides an important net good to society. So while you may be of the opinion - anecdotally - that all local news is just PR, that hasn't been found to be true in the academic literature.)
As to your third point, the prosecution of whistleblowers was heavily covered during the Obama administration. While I obviously can't speak to the specific conversations and interactions you had, it seems to me that you're tarring journalism with an incredibly broad brush by calling journalists uneducated based on a few chats (also, journalists cover a wide variety of subjects - were the journalists you were chatting with covering national politics?). There are more and less educated journalists, just as there are in every profession.
Obviously the old models don't work for journalism, and a lot of the onus is on journalism to change and to innovate. But if we value journalism as a society, some of it is also on us to change the way society works. I think the challenge is not dissimilar to what we saw with movies/music in the early 00's when piracy was rampant. The rise of streaming and the willingness of the general public to pay for entertainment media again has been a game-changer in that industry.
The demise of news kingdoms happened when it became impossible for us to ignore what we were getting for our money.
Going forward, the economics issues are as stark and complex as you say. A new challenge is they're being used to justify feeding us the same diet of crap (not exclusively - wonderful exceptions abound) that our parents were served.
In the midst of all this is a comprehensive lack of self-awareness by news orgs who exist to state reality in helpful terms. Step One should be clearly stating the core reasons that quiet Americans lost their trust in the press. It's been 20 years and news orgs are still unable (again, lots of exceptions like CJR) to discuss these crippling flaws. How can any economic solutions help if news orgs offer little more than fluff, recycled content and 1st-impression reporting?
The "diet of crap" that you bemoan has always existed to a certain extent because of economics. More people want to read about celebrity gossip or sports than the CJR. The internet has simply exacerbated this issue because the online advertising model rewards eyeballs and clicks, and what you would call "crap" content generates more of them.
So your argument seems to be this. News orgs have to defer their 1st-Amendment-inferred duties in favor of printing pap because otherwise they'll go broke. In the mean time they're going broke.
Americans have more sources of pap than ever before yet that is the arena where news orgs want to compete. Like news orgs, you appear to have zero concern with this plan.
As an aside, did you know that House voted to reauth Sect 215 surveillance? WaPo barely mentions it in their own article.
I doubt you knew because 1000 news orgs are thoughtlessly, compulsively covering [SUPER SEXY STORY] today, to the exclusion of all else. I don't know how much other critical information I'm missing bc (like every day) the vast bulk of news orgs can't be bothered to fulfill their constitutionally-protected purpose for existing.
Do you have a specific argument as to why news orgs are not earning their collective death? Other than some belief that they should continue to profit at pap, I mean.
You could also apply the principle to diets: I feel as if weight management is so difficult for so many because they have no real idea of what their meal frequency and portion size are in the grand scheme.
In fact, can anyone think of any examples of issues that affect most of the population, wherein lack of general knowledge of the spread of circumstances leads to more amenable outcomes, individually or overall?
edit: just curious about the downvote, any reason?
Newspapers, particularly local and regional ones, are the epicenter of the crisis--and they are being hollowed out. This AP article (https://apnews.com/a0409119ab71400b944662fc770593a0) is a good place to catch up.
(Anecdata, but FWIW: GateHouse, mentioned in this article, acquired my hometown paper in the past year. My mom has variously worked residential and single-copy delivery for this paper for decades. My stepdad worked delivery, managed a delivery district, and was an early employee in the paper's online operations. Subjective, but their stories, firsthand and from friends, make it hard not to see it as an extractive vulture operation.)
Edit: The data is honestly a mess. Good luck to anyone that want's to make any analysis. They should have done a proper form.
The median household income in NYC is ~$51k: https://project.wnyc.org/median-income-nabes/
Most revenue from news must come from advertising, and I think advertising is a poisoned chalice. It makes the news organisations beholden to corporations they should be reporting on, and fulfils the adage "news is what they don't want you to hear, everything else is PR".
Good video / overview here:
Where do those YouTubers source from? Most likely it’s more established news organizations.
Median Household Income 2017
Staten Island $79,201
New York City $60,879
New York State $64,894
United States $60,336
That indicates to me how underpaid most other jobs are, not that programmers are way overpaid.
Belief in a totally free and natural self-regulating market is just as bad an appeal to Naturalism as to say we should eschew health care because people were meant to die if they get sick.
> (in case you’re keeping track: all donations to all candidates, all lobbying, all think tanks, all advocacy organizations, the Washington Post, Vox, Mic, Mashable, Gawker, and Tumblr, combined, are still worth a little bit less than the almond industry. And Musk could buy them all.)
It is a little confusing to me that tech salaries are broadly consistent between various forms of tech - e.g., without negotiation or stating an expectation, I got offers within $10K of each other from a tech-heavy hedge fund and a tech-heavy advertising giant. It isn't obvious to me that these two companies have approximately the same hiring budget, or if one has a higher budget than the other than giving market offers to start negotiation instead of above-market is a winning strategy.
From your first paragraph I get the feeling you might be familiar with this, but for others the term this is alluding to is called elasticity. Essentially a little change in supply and a little change in demand aren't always worth the same. What you experience (and what others have measured) suggests the demand for competent software developers (the company side) is relatively inelastic compared to the supply of competent software developers (the employee side). Put another way, if they tried to pay you less the number of applicants they got would go down quite fast. Put even simpler, the market for software developers is a seller's market.
For what it's worth, I'm of the opinion that the long tail of high-paying jobs (which I count myself in, to be clear) is having a negative effect on the cost of living by making it easy for us to drive up the prices of limited resources like housing near an urban core, restaurant reservations near an urban core, etc. If you curtail that somehow (my preferred approach is heavy taxation, but you could also regulate salaries or perhaps encourage the free market to charge people disproportionately more if they make more money), I suspect the problem will fix itself, and <<$100K salaries will start to go farther.
Then you don't need to solve the problem of where we get more funding for journalism / taxi driving / whatever from.
The economy is more complicated than that. Debt allows people to continue to purchase beyond their means and obviously there's massive debt in the economy right now. With higher salaries, prices could stay the same but there could be less debt.
Using the Raleigh metro area, for example, that works out to about $90K/year, not including retirement:
To the extent that isn't possible, I think something is wrong in the labor market.
I'd definitely agree with this.
And I'd also partly wonder whether this could be used to sell companies/the well off on better housing/land use/rent control policies too, since in many places, the only reason the expectations have gotten so high is because the system is simply broken/completely unaffordable.
For someone to get the kind of lifestyle mentioned in central London or near Silicon Valley, you'd need at least a couple of hundred grand a year. Maybe this would change if people realised that the more they fight affordable housing, the more it'll hit them/their companies financially having to pay out for their workers to live in such broken systems.
Or, perhaps even more common, something wrong with the housing market.
So no, the data shows that these jobs are paid a normal amount, while programmers are vastly overpaid.
If a brain surgeon is a hard job and takes 15 years of school, and a crossing guard is an easy job that you just show up and stand with a sign... both should be paid 53k? I think a lot of people would have a problem with this.
Pro NBA player and pro violin player are both hard. The pro NBA player is paid more, but he generated a lot more wealth. Most orchestras rely on donations just to keep the lights on.
The economy doesn't obey immutable laws of the universe. It works the way it does because of rules that we constructed. Nothing prevents total compensation in the US from being higher allowing everyone's salaries to rise. With more progressive taxation, we could reduce the amount of inequality.
 e.g. per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_Unite...
> Labor's share of GDP declined by 4.5 percentage points from 1970 to 2016, measured based on total compensation. The decline measured for wages and salaries was 7.9 points. These trends imply income due to capital (i.e., asset ownership, such as rent, dividends, and business profits) is increasing as a % of GDP.
You are speaking a lot these days about the ills of socialism in contrast to capitalism. Programmers being paid well is a great example of capitalism at play. If you're a great programmer, you can make a lot of money. This is now common knowledge, and it should encourage more people to get in the field. It's an example of capitalism working well, why do you have a problem with this?
2. It wasn't meant to be a snark (though I can see that it came off in a bad way, and I regret that), it was a genuine question taking in consideration his stated views in past comments, and I actually just really wanted to hear his thoughts
3. While I have your ear, and while I see that you seem to be defending rayiner against any critique he receives; presumably you guys are thus on the same page on this, so I would like to hear your response on the question I posed to him: programmers getting paid a high wage is a manifestation of capitalism, what's your problem with it?
: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21520234 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21446484 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21442814 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21439347 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21438960 etc.
> it's to break down gatekeeping barriers to the profession
What are some good ways to break down these gatekeeping barriers, in your view?
The state I used to live in had two newspapers employing maybe 1000 people between them.
Now, there is one newspaper that went bankrupt and lost the building they were in. For several months, there was no statewide newspaper. The bankrupt newspaper was resurrected and now employs less than 20 people, and is primarily an AP news reprinting service with two pages of local news on the weekend.
I worked there one summer in college and briefly after college. I filled in on the city desk a few times, and it was an interesting experience putting out a good daily rag that had excellent content for the most part.
The resurrected paper doesn't even have their own printing press anymore. A local print shop runs them out.
Nothing wrong with any of those salaries. It's more than I earn.
I tried to find data on media trends to cross-reference the salary data with industry revenue to get a better understanding, and the best source I could find was Pew Research (https://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/digital-news/) but it only covers Digital News.
Overall, my initial gatherings from perusing the spreadsheet are:
- Don't expect to see Software Engineer salaries in the dataset (6-figures is the exception, not the norm).
- Biggest surprise was a Reporter in Boston with a 22-year career making $62k/yr.
- The most frequent locations seem to be NY, DC, Boston, and LA (perhaps unsurprisingly), so I'm not sure how capturing that is of wider domestic and international salary information/trends for the industry.
Another question: I wonder how profitable these companies listed in the spreadsheet are, and how much their owners are making?
The stark contrast is with software jobs at a few companies in a few locales. But, in general, it's hardly surprising that journalists often end up in other, sometimes adjacent, jobs that value being able to deliver quality prose quickly.
I know a lot of people who have worked as journalists who work for tech companies in various roles.
The salary and cut throat competition is why the worst rise to the top and we have this cesspool of a news feed we see now on a daily basis. I just stick to WSJ, Bloomberg, and this website to get the headlines that actually matter and ignore the rest of the bullshit.
One of the things that we do on our site is collect official offers anonymously, which we use to benchmark non-verified submissions. Might be interesting here too!
Frankly (and this is just my opinion here), a lot of reporting is just very low value. Analysis is shallow, or just plain wrong. I find that reporters are way too credulous, have limited quantitative faculties, and tend to start from a narrative and find facts to fit that narrative.
Talking about this reminds me of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, in which people read a news article about something they know a lot about and realize it's riddled with errors (and then promptly forget about it; I try to avoid that second bit). I so often read things that are either only part of the story or incorrect. Is it any surprise that there's limited value in reporting that can be inaccurate as often as it is accurate?
I don't think this will ever be "fixed". I just try to pay for news sources I like, and that's probably the best thing anyone can do (right now that's thecity.nyc and ProPublica. I also pay for WSJ and NYT, just because they get shared around so much and the paywalls annoy me).