6/19/2011

Is it really possible that there are more than three times as many PR people as journalists?

I suppose that given that there is so much at stake it isn't surprising that people will spend so much to influence the news.

In their recent book, "The Death and Life of American Journalism," Robert McChesney and John Nichols tracked the number of people working in journalism since 1980 and compared it to the numbers for public relations. Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they found that the number of journalists has fallen drastically while public relations people have multiplied at an even faster rate. In 1980, there were about .45 PR workers per 100,000 population compared with .36 journalists. In 2008, there were .90 PR people per 100,000 compared to .25 journalists. That's a ratio of more than three-to-one, better equipped, better financed.

How much better?

The researcher who worked with McChesney and Nichols, R. Jamil Jonna, used census data to track revenues at public relations agencies between 1997 and 2007. He found that revenues went from $3.5 billion to $8.75 billion. Over the same period, paid employees at the agencies went from 38,735 to 50,499, a healthy 30 percent growth in jobs. And those figures include only independent public relations agencies -- they don't include PR people who work for big companies, lobbying outfits, advertising agencies, non-profits, or government. . . .

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sherm said...

Apparently even the journalists are conflicted. My daughters journalism degree is in public relations, awarded by a school of journalism. (She now teaches moderate to severe special education)

6/19/2011 9:51 AM  

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