In the latest sign that Washington operates in an alternate economy, journalism jobs around the country dove 22 percent in the last 10 years, but they spiked a whopping 38 percent in the nation's capital, according to a new economic study. What's more, salaries for Washington journalists rose 7 percent while diving nationally.
While 12,000 reporting jobs were eliminated in most markets in the last decade, the Washington journalism market expanded from 2,190 to 3,030. That is more than five journalists for every single House and Senate member.
In New York, by comparison, the drop was historic, from 5,330 jobs in 2005 to just 3,478 in 2015, said the study from Apartmentlist.com.
The study reviewed rents in major cities and showed how rents have spiked while the salaries of reporters hasn't. That gap may be responsible for the shift by reporters, even award-winning journalists, to better paying public relations.
"Our analysis illustrated that reporter salaries are growing slower than rents in most metros. Nationwide, reporter salaries declined by 7 percent over the past decade while rents increased 9 percent. If this trend continues, publications will struggle to hire and retain talent," said the report provided to Secrets.
The jobs number was a small part of the study, but a stunning one.
— The number of journalists in the U.S. fell 22 percent over the past decade. In D.C., the number of journalists increased 38 percent during the same period.
— Since 2005, journalists' salaries fell 7 percent while rents rose 9 percent. In D.C., salaries grew 7 percent more than rents.
— In 2015, there were 3,030 reporters in the D.C. metro, compared with 2,190 ten years prior. Some smaller metros are left with as few as 40 journalists.
— Denver, Atlanta and Phoenix have seen the biggest growth in news jobs in mid-sized cities.
— The 50 state houses have just 1,592 reporters covering them, half of those in Washington.
The report concluded, "The decline in employment of reporters affects metros of all sizes and in all regions, but coverage in smaller metros is affected the most. Large national publications may need to play a role in adding coverage to smaller metros, perhaps sacrificing some depth in DC for greater breadth across the country. As with our teachers, society benefits when reporters can live and work in the communities that they serve, and an increased focus on local coverage can help reduce the divide between rural and urban Americans."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org