Balance of power

by Jason Preston on October 9, 2009

Online, reporters all have brands that are competing, in some ways, with their employers. Wages have always depended on how much an employee is needed. If you bring more value to a company than the company brings to you, then you get paid well.

If not, then you either don’t get hired or you don’t get paid well.

Fame is a great tool to leverage more money out of a news brand, but up until recently an individual’s ability to be famous (have a brand to themselves) was limited to the exposure that the mass mediums chose to bestow on said individual.

Thus the invisible, and low paid, employee.

Enter the internet, where suddenly anyone can build a brand for themselves, and many people working for large publications actually get a leg-up into a world where their personal fame starts to eclipse the reputation of their employer.

Now what happens? The publication is at a disadvantage of their own making. If the newly famous employee decides to leave, they’ll be able to find a job or work on their own quickly, and they’ll take a certain chunk of audience with them.

It’s an encouraging story for the young journalist, isn’t it?


1 Gilz 10.10.09 at 1:28 am


2 Steve 10.10.09 at 8:06 pm

“Now what happens? The publication is at a disadvantage of their own making. ”

Not necessarily. You’re assuming that’s a bad thing. The superstar journalist would, in theory, be bringing in her audience into the fold (a readership that the news organization may not have had up until then.)

3 Jason Preston 10.13.09 at 11:14 am

Steve – Exactly, which means the superstar journalist has the power to take that audience away if they’re not happy.

Pretty sure this is how TV journalism has worked for some time, and it’s just new to the print world…

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