Last November, when I worked at Journalism.co.uk, we helped Francois Nel at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) survey journalists who had been made redundant.
Francois received 144 responses to his survey, and this coupled with industry research provides a bleak picture of the news workforce.
There have been reports of more than 9,500 journalism job cuts between January 2007 and June 2010, he says. The National Union of Journalists estimated that in the newspaper sector there have been at least 8,800 jobs lost and 54 local offices closed since December 2008.
Asked about the treatment around their departures, 78% (of 138 respondents) thought that management did not hear all employee concerns, with 42% “feeling strongly” that this was the case.
Furthermore, “only 23% of the 134 respondents indicated that they had found full-time work in any sector, while a further 20% had found part-time work. The largest group – 42% – are still looking for work, while almost 15% said they were doing something else.”
While only 14 (18%) of the 79 respondents who had found new work said they had found full-time work in journalism, 68% of all respondents “said they would still have chosen journalism as a career, even if they had known what would happen to the industry”.
For me, the journalists’ comments were the most illuminating part of the final report published this week.
“I feel sh** after reading that question,” said a 28-year-old former assistant magazine editor with a postgraduate degree. “And wish I had never even tried to get into this bloody profession.”
“There’s no future in general reporting, and most jobs are now either shallow processing jobs or much closer to punditry‚” Respondent 30, a 51-year-old woman reporter on a national weekly newspaper
“Traditional newspaper journalism has been dying by degrees over so long a period that I was relieved to move on from the poor remains and start afresh. Grieving was long over.”
The report is available to download via Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/37088778/Laid-Off-What-Do-Journalists-Do-Next