May 12, 2019 - Economy

The ever-rising flack-to-hack ratio

There are now more than 6 PR professionals for every journalist in the U.S., as Bloomberg notes.

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: Salaries in April 2019 dollars. Data shows “public relations specialists” vs. “reporters and correspondents” as defined by BLS; Starting in 2003, BLS excludes “news analysts” from the “reporters and correspondents” category; Starting In 1998, BLS excludes “publicity writers” from the “public relations specialists” category; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Why it matters: PR jobs have doubled in the past two decades, even as newsrooms shrink, deal with buyouts and sometimes disappear altogether.

  • Flacks are more in demand than journalists are, if pay is any indicator. The average PR worker took home about $20,000 more last year than journalists did — a gap in pay that's moderated in the last few years, but is still much bigger than it was in 1997.

The bottom line: Corporations — which often have PR folks within the company while simultaneously being repped by outside PR shops, too — are inevitably telling the crafted stories they want to tell.

Go deeper: Media salaries lean higher for writing than video, photo

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