Media pulse: European journalists fear job losses as COVID resurges

by | Jan 7, 2021 | Covid-19, Public Relations

European countries were among the best at containing and minimizing the impact of the COVID crisis over the summer, but as the pandemic sweeps the continent again, nearly half (48.9 percent) of European journalists feel that they are in some danger of losing their job, with 16 percent indicating that they are in a lot of danger, according to a recent survey conducted by The Worldcom Public Relations Group’s Young Professionals Group.

The Young Professionals Group, which consists of young PR and communications professionals at Worldcom’s partner agencies in the EMEA region, invited journalists from 14 countries to complete the survey, receiving input from 454 journalists working in various sectors across Europe. They were asked several questions on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their work and the future of journalism.

Media pulse: European journalists fear job losses as COVID resurges

Less than one-third (32 percent) of journalists believe that their audience has maintained a strong interest in COVID-19 news from the beginning. While there was heightened interest back in February and March when the COVID-19 virus was first rapidly spreading, interest has waned since then: 22 percent indicated their intrigue fluctuates depending on the number of cases within a specific country and if further restrictions are introduced.

Looking beyond the pandemic, around three-quarters (75.6 percent) of the journalists surveyed believe that a post-COVID-19 world will not result in a return to the familiar ways of working. The changes in daily life brought about by the pandemic (i.e., working from home) will most likely remain long-term, supporting the idea that we live in a “new normal.”

A consequence of the lockdowns has been the digital transformation that every industry has had to undergo to survive, and the journalism and media sectors were no different. Almost three-quarters (73.3 percent) of respondents believe that print media has received a devastating blow due to the pandemic. Although the transition from print to digital had already begun long before the pandemic, this transition has accelerated. Over 83 percent of the journalists say online, social media and podcasts, and online video content as the way forward for journalism.

Media pulse: European journalists fear job losses as COVID resurges

In response to this rapid change within the media landscape, many of the respondents are looking to acquire new skills, broaden their knowledge and find new ways to reach their audiences as they attempt to look for additional work. Approximately 43 percent of respondents are upskilling in the hope of finding a new job or trying their hand at freelancing.

“We wanted to leverage Worldcom’s local knowledge and international expertise in the EMEA region to learn about the current situation in the media landscape,” said Andras R Nagy of Probako Communications, a Worldcom EMEA board member responsible for Worldcom’s Young Professionals program, in a news release. “We have received answers from almost 500 journalists, which is a very high number in these pandemic-hit times. What made this survey special is that the online survey was entirely set up and conducted by Worldcom’s Youth Group, a talented group of young PR professionals who are always finding ways to deepen the knowledge about our profession and the media.”

The survey was sent out to journalists in 14 different countries on October 1, 2020, with the response deadline set on October 31, 2020. These results are the findings from 454 journalists who responded to the survey. List of countries involved: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, UK. (South Africa was the only Non-European country involved.)

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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