I did a double-take at the info from Kate Martin, government reporter at the Tacoma News Tribune. There’s almost five public relations specialists for every reporter, she noted in a posting on the website for Investigative Reporters and Editors.
It’s actually 4.6 to 1! I’m going to be telling this statistic to my students in the fall when we talk about being assertive, digging deep and asking tough questions.
And modeling good journalistic practice, I emailed Kate for the source. She quickly replied that it’s from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This report, issued, interestingly on April Fool’s Day, lists all occupations and the number of persons employed, the average hourly and annual wages and the median hourly pay. Here’s the comparison. (ahem, the annual average salary is column 3!)
This is a handy reference for all occupations. Some of these statistics might be a good nugget to tuck into a story. Shortage of nurses in your area — compare it to other professions that pay about the same.
Need a topic for some morning show banter or a talk segment? Get your co-anchor to guess the average wage for three jobs. Or talk about why the average nonfarm animal caretaker ($22,510) makes more than a child-care worker ($21,490). See #4 in this Wall Street Journal blog. Make a trivia online poll to get readers involved.
Let me know of other helpful stat sites that have made your reporting better.