Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Mongolian Migrant Worker's Story

Korea Times published a story on Mongolian migrant worker living in South Korea. I was amazed to read the worker was fellow member of our newsteam, Batmonkh. Read this.

"In Ulan Bator, where I worked as a sports writer for the UB Post, I earned less than $100 a month, but it cost $200 to live’’ explains Batmonkh.
Unfortunately, this is true, around US$100 is what a typical journalist or writer of a newspaper gets per month. About the story, generally, this is an interesting story actually. The source gave a lot of information to the writer.
But about Batmonkh, I think he should not have disclosed his private salary information publicly. In Mongolian press industry, a performance-oriented salary system works in most major publications. Those publications have no fixed amount of monthly salary to pay journalists, instead the journalists are paid by quantity and quality of what they wrote. I think this is quite fair system.

What else? Is there another source of income for Mongolian journalists?

Some journalists work as freelancers for foreign news agencies. Some tend to act as "informal" press representative of business or cultural communities.

From employers' side, a journalist gets some promotion for what if he/she can find new subscribers or advertisements for the newspaper they are working. Finding subscribers is meant to help the newspaper to grow its circulation. The more subscribers the journalist find, the more promotive bonus cash will be plus to the salary, which is quite fair I think. But this is usually done by asking "friends", who head large business enterprise or state institutions to make subscription in large numbers. The most dangerous aspect of this is that the newspaper may become a dependent to that big subscriber's interests.

About the advertisement, some employers promote the journalists to get certain percentage of advertisement payment of what they found themselves for the newspaper. Again, the big advertisers are strongly interested in not reading negative information from that newspaper, which is obvious. Such newspaper avoid to publish negative information about its contracted advertisers.

Sometimes, it is vice versa. The newspapers threaten business companies or state institutions to make subscription or to publish adverts in exchange of being "silent" about any negative information.