Jim Romenesko’s blog highlighted the findings of a recent journalism survey of 1,080 U.S. journalists…and they don’t like what they see for the future.
- Job satisfaction went from 33.3% of journalists who said they were “very satisfied” with their job in 2002, to 23.3% in 2013.
- Six in ten say their newsrooms have shrunk during the past year, while only 13.2% report newsroom growth. *
- Fewer journalists say that concentrating on news that’s of interest to “the widest possible audience” is extremely important.
- The number of minority journalists working for the U.S. news media has decreased from 9.5% in 2002 to 8.5% in 2013.
These statistics are sobering for an up-and-coming journalist, and they make the future look somewhat bleak. I’ve noticed that’s a trend for a lot of articles directed toward my generation of journalists. It’s not to say that these numbers are made up, they’re very real, but that they don’t account for the changing factors in the last 12 years.
In terms of job satisfaction, I can’t speak on behalf of the surveyed journalists. It could be that they don’t care for the “new” style of journalism, their coworker is intolerable, or they want more money. The shrinking of newsrooms has been a trend because people are jacks-of-all-trades; the journalist is the blogger is the social media correspondent. And as we’ve learned, a lot of production has moved online. The belief that it’s not as important to provide content to the widest audience is an idea that goes hand-in-hand with an online journalism model. Niche audiences and targeted advertising mean that widespread audiences are not the key to success any longer.
A lot of the facts are made to seem like the future is dark, but I prefer to view it optimistically and attribute the failures to change. The one statistic that I can’t make sense of is the decrease in minority journalists, though a small one. That’s something I would like to see change.