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Journalists’ High-Paying Pre-News Employment

In the decades-long push for real, last-resort data on labor markets in the United States, little was known about whether reporters make more money than other media workers, which helps explain why the issue has a certain allure to reporters, and why it is often picked up by policymakers. These issues don’t get much attention in the nation’s leading papers: Not until last December, with a column about well-paid Democrats, did the New York Times write an article about “how wage gaps in the media work,” until now.

In this week’s paper, Maureen Dowd, the Times’ lead news columnist, includes a particularly notable but not surprising bit of data: that reporters earn far more than television, radio, and print journalists who field a relative trickle of the national press corps. But why?

Do media reporters get paid more than their colleagues in some of the same jobs, but on less media time and with lesser resources? Since much of the industry is volunteer, you could say that’s true. But that seems an odd explanation to take to the relationship between labor rates and their production.

This is not an issue to focus on naively, in my view. To speak about it fairly, journalists are technically not the kind of people who are paid to be available and work on the evening news all day and the weekend. They are journalists, and, in the process of producing quality journalism, they are paid less than the average person whose main job is to be present at any given moment and to perform a host of other more traditional production tasks. The point of this salary gap may well not be the same as the national wage gap, but it does seem reasonably clear that media outlets are out of step with the salaries of most other media workers.

I asked several New York Times reporters about this, and they were mostly confused. Indeed, I received plenty of replies to my conversation question about the salaries of journalists that focused primarily on pay discrepancies between that particular sector and other sectors, never mind between journalists and other professions that are not media at all. The Times journalists I spoke with each could not name a single example of how much more they are paid than the head of an organization of three or four full-time journalists.

They pointed me to an article by Jeremy W. Peters in April, which made a case, after being asked a question I considered fairly innocuous, that New York Times journalists’ combined salary rose steadily between 2015 and 2017. This “a stunning 96 percent jump,” Peters noted, “is roughly equal to the wage gap between [New York Times executive editor] Dean Baquet and columnist [opinion page editor] Bob Cohn,” (the two of whom he accused of having talked about the salary gulf and who both claim to be earning in the low five figures compared to something in the mid to high four figures). So sure, the salary gap between media journalists and other journalists does indeed seem to be large; no, not big enough to be interesting or important enough to have a lot of news outlets as a source of data. But that is not really the point. If journalism is, according to your conversation with me, more important to you than the job of working on the evening news, then all the surprise you can produce at your superlative salary for delivering a superlative product may be just as important to you as it is to the part of your role that you proudly call “consumable.”

If you’re wondering if I might have accidentally fallen off of your salary scale, I would never try to shame you into getting a non-journalist job over a journalist who needs the cash. (That there is a “diverging superlative,” as Peters wrote, probably doesn’t help.) But I am impressed, in general, by my colleagues’ aptitude for shaping newsrooms as institutions to better serve the best interests of citizens. You worked incredibly hard to get your job. That is an excellent and worthy work, one of the few noble things happening in journalism right now. Rather than bully yourself or someone else into the other job (which is perhaps where the real, wild discrepancies begin), put your skills to the most productive and serviceable use you can.

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Homeownership Hits Lowest Level in Half-Century

(CN) – Americans buying homes are enjoying their lowest rate of home ownership in over a half-century.

According to a report published Tuesday by real estate data firm CoreLogic, only 47.8 percent of U.S. households own their own home. This marks the lowest ownership rate since CoreLogic started collecting data in 1959.

The data for this report was collected between September 2017 and September 2018, giving it a year-to-year-rise of 2.8 percent, down from 4.3 percent in September 2017.

Real estate has remained relatively stable, CoreLogic reported, and home prices have risen to the point where a home valued at $100,000 becomes more expensive if the mortgage is backed by the FHA, VA or USDA. Without this subsidy, the difference for an insured loan is approximately $650, according to CoreLogic.

Despite these increases, demand for affordable homes remains low, CoreLogic reported. The nation’s supply of homeowners, defined as the number of households with homes within their own zip code but not also within the neighborhood’s, was 1.7 million in September 2018, or 0.4 million short of what people are requesting.

That means the supply of homes for those who want one – now hovering around 1.4 million – is at an historically low level. With constrained supply, buyers are forced to make extreme choices and get creative, shifting their search to more affordable areas outside the urban cores.

Since CoreLogic tracks mostly metro areas, which typically have smaller differences between the housing inventory and demand, the gap between desired and available properties is also low. A total of only 35 percent of all metros surveyed have a supply more than 40 percent of what people want, according to CoreLogic.

These metro areas include Orange County, San Diego, Miami and Detroit.

There are two primary causes for the decline in Americans’ home ownership, CoreLogic said.

First, younger families no longer have access to mortgage credit if they have high debts like student loans, and mortgage lenders are closing many creditworthy credit limits, CoreLogic reported.

Second, young people are moving away from big cities and moving further from the employment centers. As millennials begin moving away from home, real estate prices increase. But they aren’t moving to city centers for work, driving down prices in smaller towns even more.

“The decline in housing ownership among Millennials and other younger households is a growing concern,” Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, said in a statement. “In fact, this trend represents the fastest decline in homeownership for any group. Future job growth, particularly in skilled occupations, will be critical to rebuilding the U.S. housing market. While we know job growth will happen, we don’t know how many young Americans will be able to afford to own a home or apartment, which should be our primary goal.”

According to CoreLogic, the U.S. economy has a long way to go before it recovers from the short-term financial downturn. Just 3.1 percent of households have a down payment – defined as the difference between their income and the value of their home – versus the national median of 12.8 percent.

“The recovery from the financial crisis is just beginning and is already driving prices higher than historical norms in many places,” Martell said. “With the income and employment recovery still fragile and far from complete, it is important to focus on home affordability, not just home price appreciation.”

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Men, it’s time to become conscious of your conscious judgments

Intelligence. Strength. Portability. Those are some of the physical traits associated with masculinity. Are you conscious of the type of masculinity you practice? If not, it’s time to get conscious.

Our brains turn on unconscious bias with the click of a button. We make assumptions about other people based on face recognition, belief systems, and cultural stereotype. There’s no way to stand in judgment of anyone else, and we are fully capable of not judging other people, but in order to stand in judgment of others you need to be conscious.

Making conscious judgments requires intentional decision-making. How can you consciously choose to act with compassion and wisdom when your unconscious bias traps you in a vicious cycle of making assumptions about others?

Here are four ways you can stand in judgment of yourself by making conscious decisions:

-Begin the day by taking a step back and questioning your assumptions.

-Look at your highest values in life, and if you’re not sure, do some research and create a list.

-If you do make a value judgement and it’s turned out to be incorrect, examine why you made the decision in the first place.

-Have a constant dialogue with yourself that is open to feedback from others and internal assessment.

How do you go about creating mindful decisions when it’s already too late?

One simple, yet powerful way to practice mindful judgment is to ask the questions:

– Why am I judging another?

– Where is my bias coming from?

– What kind of person am I judging?

– What do I regret having said to someone?

– How can I create a just, productive, and relationship-oriented relationship with them?

Mindful judgments are easier to make when your underlying assumptions are clear. Some unconscious biases are more visible than others, so it can be a good idea to ask these questions to clear your mind.

Feel free to share how you do it, and let us know if we’re offering advice, training, or resources to help you practice a conscious judgment of yourself. Thanks for the great work you do!