Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Journalism Creators Program at CUNY teaches participants to launch their own news products, from wherever they are
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 13, 2020, 1:28 p.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: www.icfj.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Sarah Scire   |   October 13, 2020

The Journalism and the Pandemic Project, a partnership between the International Center for Journalists and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, published the first part of their global survey of journalists on Tuesday.

The results were “startling and disturbing,” wrote project authors Julie Posetti, Emily Bell, and Peter Brown:

Based on an analysis of 1,406 vetted survey completions during the pandemic’s first wave, we can conclude that many journalists covering this devastating human story, at great personal risk, were clearly struggling to cope. Seventy percent of our respondents rated the psychological and emotional impacts of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis as the most difficult aspect of their work. A similar number (67%) identified concerns about financial hardship as a significant difficulty, while the intense workload was ranked the third biggest challenge, ahead of social isolation and the risk of actually contracting the virus.

The English-language survey was conducted in May and June, during what we were calling “the first wave” of the pandemic in the U.S., and the vetted respondents came from 125 countries. (The responses collected in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian will be included in a later report.)

The cuts have been deep as the financial fallout of Covid-19 has prompted some newsrooms to reduce spending, layoff or furlough staff, or close up for good. A full 70% of respondents reported that they’d been personally affected by at least one cutback — including 21% who’d had their pay reduced, 6% who’d lost their jobs, and 2% who said their outlets had closed entirely. Of the 38% who said their newsrooms had been “adversely affected” by the pandemic, nearly half said revenues had declined by more than 50%.

It’s not all that surprising, then, that journalists said the number one thing that would help them do their jobs more effectively is more money. More than three-quarters said their publication could use funds to meet basic operating costs (including salaries). Training and equipment for remote reporting also registered high on the wishlists.

The report also showed journalists grappling with a lack of personal protective equipment, increasing online harassment, sources worried about reprisal, and disinformation from public officials, as co-author Julie Posetti summarized in a thread on Twitter:

It wasn’t all bad news. About half of respondents said their audience’s trust in their news organization had increased during the first wave of the pandemic and 38% said they’d experienced an uptick in audience engagement. “These comparatively optimistic findings may be key to reimagining post-pandemic journalism as a more mission-driven and audience-centered public service,” the authors wrote.

You can download the full report here.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Journalism Creators Program at CUNY teaches participants to launch their own news products, from wherever they are
One lesson from pandemic times is that journalism education doesn’t have to happen in person, and remote learning can open up more opportunities for journalists to launch their own products.
Google releases new tools for journalists — and shares insider insight on what’s trending on the search platform
Pinpoint, which uses AI and machine learning to help reporters sift through investigative materials, is part of the recently-released Journalist Studio.
Older people and Republicans are most likely to share Covid-19 stories from fake news sites on Twitter
The far-right site The Gateway Pundit was by far was the most-shared fake news domain; in some months, its stories were shared almost as often as stories from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.