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Salaries for Austin journalists are shrinking — and so are their jobs

Salaries for Austin journalists are shrinking — and so are their jobs

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Times are tough for journalists these days. Photo courtesy of VishwaGujarat.com

We have bad news about journalists in the Austin area: Their ranks and their paychecks are shrinking pretty substantially.

As news outlets cope with the changing habits of readers, viewers, and listeners — a shift driven by rising consumption of digital content — Austin has definitely felt the effects. A new study by Apartment List found that the number of journalists in the Austin area fell 23 percent from 2005 to 2015 and that their salaries fell 7 percent during the same period.

In 2015, about 170 journalists were employed in the area, down from about 220 a decade earlier, the study says.

Apartment List compared the drop-off in salaries for journalists with the rise in apartment rents. In the Austin area, the study found journalist pay grew 48 percent less than rents.

The study also shows the number of journalists dipped in about 80 percent of U.S. metro areas over the 10-year span. Overall, the number of journalists decreased 22 percent nationwide.

The newspaper business has been rocked especially hard by the shakeup in the media world. From January 2001 to September 2016, the U.S. newspaper industry lost more than half its jobs, including those held by journalists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the flip side, the number of jobs in digital publishing surged 207 percent from January 2007 to September 2016, the bureau says.

“The rise of online news sources ... has upended the [media] industry and resulted in several waves of industry layoffs,” Apartment List says.

Still, some metros saw upswings in the ranks of reporters from 2005 to 2015, including Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Washington, the study indicates.