FINDING TALENT: Media Staffing Network releases 2020 newspaper compensation study results.

AuthorKahn, Laurie

Welcome to our first annual newspaper sales compensation study. In combination with America's Newspapers and Editor and Publisher,

Media Staffing Network is happy to share this important data with you. We currently survey radio, television and now newspapers. All studies are located on our website ( to help media owners and operators better research recent trends affecting talent acquisitions. With annual surveys across various media platforms, we can offer more insight into what it will take to attract, hire and retain top sales talent by tracking changes from year to year.

This year our timing for the survey was in mid-summer, so we were well into the pandemic. As we continue to see changes stemming from this crisis, we feel that our information will be timely for those in the budget process.

Let's start by examining who responded. We had 223 responses from across the U.S. and Canada: 65.5 percent were managers or publishers with 8.1 percent being sellers; 44.4 percent were from publications with a circulation of less than 10,000; 23.8 percent have circulation between 10,000 and 20,000, with 15.3 percent serving 40,000 plus; and 52.9 percent publish weekly, 42.2 percent publish daily and 3.6 percent publishing monthly.

Most publications, 61 percent of respondents, employ one to five sellers, with 25.1 percent employing six to 10 sellers and 13.9 percent employing more than 11 sellers. A large majority--a whopping 96.4 percent--stated that they have between one and five sales managers. For the majority, this appears to be pretty much the same as before the pandemic, with 64.1 percent staying consistent, 34.5 percent indicating that their sales teams have diminished, while 1.3 percent actually increased the size of their sales team.

I found it interesting that only 21.1 percent of respondents utilize part-time sellers. This is an area that should have some consideration. The younger generation are often holding multiple positions and in addition, many working parents prefer a part-time or flexible opportunity. By opening that ability, newspapers should be able to attract a much higher quality of candidates.

Happily, 94.2 percent claim that they have one sales team to sell all products, while now only 5.8 percent have separate digital teams. This is a good area to promote when looking to attract new sellers, especially younger generations, as there is a high amount of interest to sell digital.

Speaking of younger...

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