By Ben Fields, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — If you’ve never heard of Liz Mair, you’re not alone. But Mair, a Republican communications strategist who has worked with the likes of Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., became briefly infamous among journalists this week after suggesting that local news outlets struggle because reporters are lazy and overpaid.
Mair tweeted: “One problem contributing to the demise of local media is the very minimal output of some local reporters. When you file like one story a week, it’s hard to justify high five figure or low six figure salaries and you’re not doing much to attract readers. Too little content.”
First off, no reporter at a local newspaper is making “high five figure or low six figure salaries” unless they’ve been doing their job for 30 to 40 years and have somehow avoided downsizing or corporate gutting.
My first job out of college was as a reporter at a relatively small daily newspaper in Southern Ohio. It was 1999. I was paid $7.50 an hour. After five months there, I took a job as a reporter at a paper nearby. They generously bumped me up to $21,000 a year. That wasn’t great, but it was OK for the time being. I was doing a job I loved doing. I was in my early 20s, had a low cost of living and I was getting frequent raises.