Journalists at L.A. Times Outraged by Lower Pay for Women, People of Color

April 13, 2018 – Employees of the Los Angeles Times reacted with outrage but not surprise to a study by the  L.A. Times Guild that reveals that the Times pays women and journalists of color thousands of dollars less per year than their white, male counterparts.

“I have been sitting with the results of the @latguild pay study for more than 24 hours, and I’m still so, so angry,” tweeted Soumya Karlamangla, a healthcare reporter. “For a reporter like me, in the youngest age bracket, the average salary is $71K. but if I were a man of the same age, the average salary would be $73k. if I were white, it would be $76k. none of this OK.”

“I’m furious, but not surprised,” said Tre’vell Anderson, who writes about Hollywood.

But union members also reacted with determination to correct the blatant inequities.

Management could have fixed the problem, metro reporter Sarah Parvini said. “Now, we are working to fix it ourselves.”

“The findings shed light on why the Los Angeles Times unionized after 136 years,” LAT Guild wrote when it released the study. “Together, we will fight to correct this disparity, and make the newsroom a better place for those who come after us,” the local tweeted.

The study found that among unionized journalists of all ages and job titles, women and people of color make less than white men. On average, women of color in the Los Angeles Times’ bargaining unit make less than 70 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. The report was based on data for approximately 320 full-time journalists, including reporters, photographers, copy editors, designers and other newsroom employees.

The study found:

  • Across all ages and experience levels, the average reporter salary at the L.A. Times is about $95,000. The average salary for female reporters is $87,564, while the average for men is $101,898. The average for people of color is $85,622, and the average for white reporters is $100,398.
  • Those gaps can partly be explained by the fact that many of the most senior, best-paid journalists are white men. But a detailed analysis conducted by the L.A. Times Guild also found scores of women and journalists of color who, on average, make thousands of dollars less than white and male co-workers of similar ages and job titles.
  • Women represent 42.8% of The Times bargaining unit but their representation falls off dramatically among older workers.
  • Of unionized staff, only, 38.7% are people of color — and like female employees, representation in the newsroom falls off with age.

“‘For black employees, the [salary] midpoint is $71,234. For Latinos, the midpoint is $70,000. The midpoint for non-white women is $70,000; the midpoint for white women is $87,210. For men of color, the midpoint is $83,585. For white men, the midpoint is $101,228.’ Like…” tweeted Gerrick Kennedy.

“This confirms a problem we all felt existed but were unable to quantify. And now we have,” wrote Carolina Miranda, who covers fine art and culture and serves as co-chair of the local. “Myriad management teams have come and gone at the LA Times and none have seriously studied or attempted to right this wrong. …

“I joined the unionization effort because as a worker, I wanted a few basic protections and because I wanted to be treated fairly,” she added. “The study, as teeth-grinding as it is, is a first step in that direction.”

Unfortunately, the disparities uncovered by the L.A. Times Guild are not unusual. The NewsGuild-CWA has exposed and fought similar discrepancies in newsrooms throughout the nation, including at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News and Minneapolis Star-Tribune.