How I Got That Story: Seeking Public Employee Salaries

How I Got That Story logo

Each year, the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. collects pay information for public employees within its coverage area.

The 2012 survey, which included seven government agencies, went beyond seeking base salary and benefits information. Each entity provided its total compensation costs, which covered the amount taxpayers pay in employee benefits, retirement, overtime and other employment perks.

Agencies provided the breakdown for each employee, including seasonal help, part-time employees and those who, because of their hire or retirement date, were not on the payroll for the full year. They were also asked to separate non-cash costs of employment, such as the issuance of agency-owned cars, laptops, tablets or mobile phones.

As a result, the newspaper created a database that allowed readers to search by government entity, job title, base salary and total compensation. The names of most public employees were withheld, with the exception of the top earners. public salaries

Learn how the Record Searchlight provided the information to its readers by attending the “How I Got That Story’ webinar:

Wednesday, February 20

2:00-3:00 p.m. EST

Register by 5 p.m. February 19


EspinoMeet your presenter

Jenny Espino

Jenny Espino is a multimedia journalist for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif., where she covers city government and breaking news. Espino started her newspaper career in the Midwest as a city hall and political reporter for the Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent and was also part of its watchdog team. She is a graduate of San Jose State University and an alumna of the Chips Quinn Scholars program.  Espino also won an annual Best of Scripps award for her leadership on the survey of public employee compensation, and for writing that put the data in perspective.

Topics Espino Will Cover

• Understanding the data

• Building your database

• Crafting your request for information

• Illustrating your findings

Check out the story here.

To hear the whole story & register for this webinar click here.