Transparency: It’s not just for others. The Idaho Statesman needs it too

We are calling on The McClatchy Company, owner of the Idaho Statesman, to commit to fair and equitable pay for its employees. Today, we’re talking about transparency in job ads. Support us over the next few weeks by sending a letter to management here.

Transparency remains one of the bedrock principles of the Idaho NewsGuild. This was a value we believed we shared with McClatchy, a news company that professes public transparency and holding those in power accountable.

We’ve since learned otherwise.

McClatchy refuses to list salary ranges in job postings for the Idaho Statesman. This shroud of secrecy paves the way for pay disparities in the news industry, which for decades has paid women and people of color a fraction of their white male colleagues.

Pay disparities are sadly not an issue of the past. The Statesman recently had a male and female reporter with the same job. The female employee had a decade of experience on that specific beat. The male employee had three years — yet made $3,800 more a year.

To address these diversity and equity flaws, the Idaho NewsGuild proposed as part of its first contract that all job postings must include a salary range. This will establish a level playing field for all job candidates.

Despite all this, McClatchy has refused to commit to pay transparency in our first contract over and over again. No explanation. No justification. Just, “No.” 

The message is clear: “Transparency for thee, not for me.” 

Like many companies today, McClatchy makes plenty of lofty statements about valuing diversity, equity and inclusion — but has yet to significantly demonstrate that commitment. This is a simple, concrete step toward improving our newsroom.

Pay transparency is a proven method to narrow wage gaps. Look no further than the federal government, which requires salary ranges in all job postings. Women there are paid 93 cents for every dollar a man earns, compared to 84 cents for every dollar in the private sector.

Smart companies are following suit. They know they must fight to attract talented and diverse employees in this competitive market. Jobs without basic salary information are quickly skipped over or forgotten for companies that value candidates’ time and attention.

Take a drive around town and you’ll find companies advertising their wages loudly. They’ve learned a lesson McClatchy hasn’t. 

A news organization that claims a commitment to transparency yet refuses to share its salaries can’t expect to attract the employees it needs to thrive.

McClatchy’s refusal is also quickly becoming illegal. Colorado and New York City now require salary information in all job ads. More states and cities are requiring wage info early in interviews. 

That list will only grow. McClatchy needs to get on the right side of history.

Being upfront about salaries also benefits McClatchy. The Idaho Statesman has spent significant resources vetting and interviewing candidates in the past year, only to have them withdraw when they learn what the job pays. 

Why waste everyone’s time and resources?

The kicker? McClatchy instituted a company-wide salary minimum March 1, 2021. It’s currently $42,187 a year in Boise. 

Executives have bragged about the minimum in company town halls. But they don’t want job candidates to know what they could earn. 

Why? 

We know pay transparency is not a silver bullet to fix every diversity issue in our newsroom. But it is an effective tool and a significant first step. We question why a company that publicly claims it’s committed to diversity, equity and inclusion would reject it. 

Join us in telling McClatchy it needs to treat its employees fairly and equitably by signing this petition and sending a message to management.

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