Hilarious Sesame Street Sketch Pokes Fun at Journalists’ Salaries, Goes Viral
"Will work for cookies!"
It’s no secret that being a journalist isn’t what it used to be. Every day, it feels like some renowned print publication is closing its doors, and a digital one is laying off over half of their staff in one fell swoop. Newspaper employment has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2005, and the starting median salary for a reporter (which hovers around $35,000) is barely a livable wage in most big cities. For many journalists at the beginning of their careers, the hustle is very real, and if you want to get paid to write and still make your rent, you don’t really have the luxury of turning down assignments or negotiating a better wage or benefits.
Perhaps that’s why this Sesame Street clip is going viral. In the 26-second clip, Cookie Monster tells Big Bird and Abby Cadabby that, “If me take journalist job, we need to discuss salary, and benefits, and time off, oh, and retirement package.” Big Bird and Abby whisper to one another briefly, before the latter exclaims, “We’ll give ya a cookie!”
“Sold!” Cookie Monster says, slamming his hand on the table. “Me take it.” “Me journalist,” he says proudly, wearing a reporter’s outfit.
Negotiating that new year salary increase like: pic.twitter.com/1fv2UMbqgY
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) January 7, 2019
Journalists everywhere started to retweet the clip, given that it pretty much accurately depicts salary negotiations when you start a new journalism job.
“Sesame Street is now a documentary,” Alan Sepinwal, the Chief TV critic for Rolling Stone, wrote.
Sesame Street is now a documentary. https://t.co/cEKTI6FibT
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) January 7, 2019
Hayes Brown, the Deputy News Editor at Buzzfeed News, wrote that it was “the most searing indictment of digital media hiring I have seen.”
Whitney McIntosh, a sports, culture, entertainment writer currently looking for work, wrote that she felt “brutally dunked” by the beloved TV show, adding that, if we’re being honest, “everyone in media would work for cookies and we know it.”
never thought I’d know how it feels to be brutally dunked on by a beloved children’s show but there’s a first time for everything https://t.co/itgThcSgJG
— Whitney McIntosh (@WhitneyM02) January 7, 2019
And Laura McGann, the politics editor at Vox.com, called it a “live shot from every reporter salary negotiation.”
Live shot from every reporter salary negotiation: https://t.co/2xDbzburOP
— Laura McGann (@lkmcgann) January 7, 2019
Some people feel like Cookie Monster lucked out by not getting offered a cookie-less internship, given his limited experience in the field.
This is one cookie more than I made at my first journalism internship. https://t.co/tuTcxL6oMl
— Bob McGovern (@BobMcGovernJr) January 7, 2019
Others are certain the segment must have been written by an ex-journalist because only someone who’s been on this financial battleground can capture it so well.
This was 100 percent written by an ex-journalist https://t.co/LjqDcAkJ30
— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) January 7, 2019
So, if you’re a journalist, next time someone asks you whether or not your life is like the movie Spotlight, send them this clip. And for more commiserating over bad pay, check out these tweets about how people’s professions in reality differ from the way they’re portrayed in movies.
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