Herald journalists should be paid a living wage

As a subscriber who depends on The Herald to inform me about Snohomish County news, I urge it to increase the pay of its news staff during The Herald’s ongoing contract negotiations.

The fact that you are paying many reporters about $18 per hour should be embarrassing. Who can live on that? The journalists we trust to ferret out wrongdoing and bad decisions in local government should earn a living wage. This low pay scale is also bad business. By not investing in your news staff, you encourage a brain drain of the most accomplished journalists. That cheapens your product. Readers can tell the difference.

It is important to remember that newspapers are a business. They need to make a profit. It’s also important to remember that newspapers are a cornerstone of our democracy. The work of these underpaid journalists is critical to inform voters.

The Herald’s management and its corporate leadership must understand that maintaining a high-quality product is a bare minimum to ensure long-term success.

More is needed beyond that, of course, in light of the current financial realities of the news business. Please think outside the box about how to increase revenue, including additional support from public-spirited citizens and philanthropists. The news business has changed. So must the revenue base. That will take energy and innovation.

Please invest in a quality future. Don’t cheap out on this community’s most important source of local news.

Robert McClure

Seattle

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