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Wage watchers: how much does a court reporter earn?
Court reporter Chris Verhaeghe, 24, from Halle talks about what he earns and how he spends it
What do you do for a living?
I’m a journalist for the Persinfo news agency and work as a court reporter for the VRT’s news service. I follow all kinds of court cases taking place at Brussels’ courthouse, and judicial investigations. It’s important to build a network of lawyers and magistrates to keep abreast of new investigations and court cases. One night a week I’m on standby to cover accidents, fires, shootings and any other crimes. I’m also on duty one weekend per month.
Do you enjoy your job?
Yes, I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was a toddler. My studies were geared towards journalism; I did media studies at the Erasmus University College. The place where I did my work experience eventually became my employer.
What do you think of your salary?
I earn €1,550 after tax + transport expenses, mobile phone, laptop, camera and end-of-year bonus. I can’t complain – especially when the majority of journalists I know are freelancers. At the end of the month I get paid no matter what, which cannot be said of everyone in the profession. I also get professional equipment from Persinfo, so I don’t have to shell out for a mobile or a laptop.
Would you change jobs if the money was better?
Not for the money but, should I ever get tired of this, I would go for a job with more ‘normal’ hours and well-defined responsibilities.
What does the biggest part of your salary go towards?
Rent and daily stuff. My fiancée and I set aside a combined monthly budget of €1,300. The rest we put into a savings account. We also have our own personal accounts to pay for our own expenses.
What do you gladly pay for?
A nice restaurant dinner with my fiancée. I do like a gourmet menu with matching wines. We go out every month and try new restaurants every now and then. And if I want to cook something special which requires quality ingredients, then money is no object. I’m quite Burgundian in that respect!
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I’d built a stadium for my local basketball team, the Halle Tigers, where I play and also train the youth team. But first I’d buy a nice house with a lot of land, because my fiancée likes to ride horses.