By Samuel Butterfass
Take a second to look over the News, Variety and Sports sections of this paper that you are currently holding. No one was paid or compensated for the time and talent that it took to write those articles or take those pictures.
CSB/SJU administration’s unwillingness to compensate its section writers, photographers and editors for their articles, photos and contributions to the weekly publication devalues journalism, the craft of writing, photography, editing, graphic design and students’ hard work and time as a whole.
I got involved writing for The Record my first year at SJU, and I’ve contributed multiple articles to The Record every semester since the fall of 2015. For the full 2016-2017 academic year, I worked as one of two News Editors for The Record. Having worked with the paper for this period of time at different levels and capacities, I firmly assert that my contention is true and valid. The students contributing to this publication deserve to be compensated for their time, energy and skill.
Not only is it unjust that we don’t pay our writers, it’s embarrassing. Especially when we compare that fact with other universities. The starting stipend for a reporter at St. Thomas’s Tommie Media is $300 per semester. Our schools pay someone to sit at a desk in the McGlynn Fitness Center and stare at a laptop for 16 hours a day. There is no reason why they cannot compensate everyone who contributes time, energy and talent to The Record.
Additionally, the fact that students of The Record don’t get compensated is extremely insulting to the publication’s proud history of exceptional journalism.
Today’s paper is the same publication that received contributions from Senator Eugene McCarthy, Gary Eichten and many more prominent Bennies and Johnnies during their time on campus. Today’s paper continues to take home awards at the annual Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) conference, continuing the tradition of excellent journalism.
Not only is it fair to compensate writers, photographers and editors—paying The Record’s contributors would have a positive impact on the quality of writing and work that it puts out and incentivize better writers to contribute. I know plenty of great writers on campus that would love an opportunity to have their work showcased and valued, but simply don’t have enough time or energy between other jobs and class to do free work for The Record.
Now, editors of The Record do receive a stipend per semester based on advertising revenue, however, having worked as a News Editor for The Record for two full semesters, I can state very plainly that the stipend is not even close to adequate or even good compensation for the amount of hours spent working. Frankly, were we not also students, being part of the editing team of The Record could be a full-time position, and student editors at other schools get paid far more.
For people who care about writing, for people who have dignity in theirs and other’s work, it’s insulting that CSB/SJU administration won’t compensate its student workers at The Record.
It’s my contention that The Record should pay their writers a flat rate for each article submitted, and I encourage The Record’s readers, writers and editors to make this issue known and to put pressure on
administration until it’s willing to put its money where its mouth is and show this campus that they value strong writing, journalism and hard work.