NewsGuild Study Finds Pay Disparities At Gannett

Pay disparities exist in Gannett newsrooms, with women and people of color getting short shrift, according to an analysis by the News Guild, a union representing communications workers.

In general, women earned $9,845 less, or 83% of men’s median salary in the 14 Gannett newsrooms. And women aged 50-60 earned $6,642 less than men in the same age range, or 90% of that pay rate.

Women with 30 years of tenure earned $27,026 less per annum than male peers, equating to 63% of a man’s salary.  

Women of color earned $15,727 less, or 73% of a white male’s pay. 

In addition, journalists of color earned $5246, or 90% of the White median salary.

Gannett spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton told CNN the NewsGuild had outdated information and criticized the methodology.  

"Gannett is a leader in the industry,” Anton said. “Our market-driven approach to compensation ensures a fair review by role and responsibility level with considerations for geographic differences," Anton said. 



According to CNN, Anton added:It is troubling that the NewsGuild's document would issue a 'study' that fails to take into consideration critical analysis factors and then espouses the benefits of joining a union as the solution.” 

That said, the study also found a lack of diversity at Gannett. Based on annual pay data for 441 full-time workers in the 14 newsrooms, there are 210 White males employed in journalistic capacities.

In contrast, there are 133 White females, 48 women who are described as not White and 50 males in that category. 

Most of the newsrooms are male-dominated, with males taking almost double the journalistic jobs at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

However, the Arizona Republic had a nearly even split, and the Knoxville News-Sentinel employed more women than men. 

The Arizona Republic also led when it comes to employing people of color in newsrooms:

  • Arizona Republic—36% 
  • Memphis Commercial Appeal—29% 
  • News-Press and Naples Daily News—27% 
  • Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News—23% 
  • Knoxville News Sentinel—21% 
  • Indianapolis Star—20% 
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel—17% 
  • Sarasota Herald-Tribune—11% 
  • South Bend Tribune—10% 
  • Florida Times-Union—9% 
  • Lakeland Leeder—9% 
  • Kitsap Sun—0%

Among the properties, the Knoxville News Sentinel stood out as having a more racially diverse staff than the country it is located in, although the staff is 79% white.

And while the Arizona Republic was the most diverse newsroom, women made nearly $30,000 less in median wages than men, and people of color $25,000 less than White employees. 

But in total, Gannett was deemed overwhelmingly White: 

  • White—77.8% 
  • Hispanic or Latino—8.6% 
  • Black—6.4% 
  • Asian—3.4% 
  • Did not specify—1.4% 
  • Two or more races—1.1% 
  • American Indian or Alaska Native—0.7% 
  • Other—0.2% 
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander—0.2% 
  • Arab or Middle Eastern—0.2% 

According to the study, Gannett CEO Mike Reed has said, “(W)e are committed to ... driving positive change. While this will, at times, mean addressing and combating systemic barriers and having uncomfortable conversations, we believe silence is not an option.” 

The study also claims that unionizing improves pay equity. 

The Guild recommends that Gannet: 

  • Released anonymized pay data for the entire company 
  • Take swift action to eliminate pay disparities 
  • Raise the starting salary to a living wage and implement experience-based pay scales 
  • Create policies and ongoing review to improve diversity in hiring 
  • Voluntarily recognize and bargain in good faith with employees who unionize.  

The study is based on anonymized data for 466 non-management employees, 441 full-time and 25 part-time. The firm did not provide data for managers. 

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