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Making Bank in the Age of Trump: DC Reporters

BuzzFeed reports on political journalists scooping up lucrative side gigs on TV, making speeches
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2018 10:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – Political reporters covering all things Trump seem to break big news around the clock—and, apparently, are bringing in big bucks doing side jobs for TV news networks. BuzzFeed reports on these lucrative moonlighting gigs, with reporters such as the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post, and Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman among those who regularly turn up on CNN and MSNBC after filing stories for their employers. And the payout can be huge: Per agents, reporters, and network sources, political journalists who sign contracts for these TV gigs can start out with annual compensation of $30,000 to $50,000, with more high-profile reporters bringing in up to $90,000; multiyear contracts for those most in demand can net up to $250,000.

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Making speeches is another way journalists are bringing in extra bucks (sources tell BuzzFeed that Axios' Jonathan Swan makes $25,000 or so per appearance). Lump these fees in with a reporter's regular salary and that's quite a pretty paycheck—a sharp contrast, BuzzFeed notes, to typical wages in what's been a struggling industry. Not that everything is rosy for those who bring in this bonus dough. "The money also comes with a lot of misery," one White House reporter says, with drawbacks including long hours dictated by a seemingly never-ending news cycle and Trump's public attacks against the media in general and sometimes individuals in particular. Yet BuzzFeed notes the "deep irony" of what has become a symbiotic (albeit sometimes "toxic") setup: "Trump has been an enormous financial boon for a beleaguered news industry." More here. (Read more reporters stories.)

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