Learning from layoffs Lessons from the experiences of UK journalists who have lost their jobs François Nel Director: Journalism Leaders Programme School of Journalism, Media & Communication University of Central Lancashire, Preston FPNel@uclan.ac.uk
theagenda 2 1. Context of the research 2. Notes on method 3. (Some of) what we found in our research 4. Questions – and contributions
Estimated newspaper publishing market decline in OECD countries, 2007-2009 UK -22% Long term structural changes incustomer behaviour& short term changes in economic context Source: OECD. (2010): Future of News and the Internet http://www.oecd.org/document/48/0,3343,en_2649_33703_45449136_1_1_1_1,00.html
5 There's not enough advertising in the world to make all the websites profitable. We'd rather have fewer people come to our website, but paying. Uncertainty and experimentation in the business context
industry analyst Clare Enders in December 2008 predicted that that up to a third of the nearly 1300 regional newspaper titles will shut in the next five years making 10,000 people redundant (McNally, 2008); six months later, she revised her forecast downwards. In June 2009, Enders told a parliamentary select committee investigation into the future of local radio and newspaper that she expected that as many as one in every two papers may fold by 2014 (McNally 2009) Forecasts are grim.
By contrast, university programmes & enrolment continued to grow
Fulltime first-year UK UG in Journalism
Fulltime Postgraduates in Journalism
UG journalism as percentage of total enrolment
Research Questions RQ1:How do journalists experience the process of being laid off? RQ2:What do they do next? (RQ3:Who is being laid off?) 15
A 31-question online survey was developed drawing on an instrument developed by Scott Reinardy for a US study conducted in summer 2009 (but not yet reported). The survey was promoted through thea partnership with the trade website journalism.co.uk, which wrote three stories about the study and posted a link on their jobs page. Stories about the study also appeared in HoldtheFrontPage and on the Society of Editors site, as well as on the author’s blog a. The survey link was also distributed by J.co.uk & the author via social media, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype (status). There were 144was collected between 15th October 2009 and 31st January 2010. The findings were analysed using simple descriptive statistics; as the sample was self-selecting and therefore not generalizable, more sophisticated statistical measurements were not viable here. 16 Notes on the method
Senior managers accounted for 27% of the respondents, production editors 36% and content makers 38%
*Gender *Labour Force Survey 2001: 51% male, 49% female
Laid Off Study 2010 28% are 22-29 20% are 30-39 More than half are 40+ 19% are 40-49 33% are 50-66 Labour Force Survey 2001 35% are 22-29 32% are 30-39 Less than a third are 40+ Age
*Race (as defined in UK census) * Labour Force Survey 2001: 96% identified as white.
Skills Foresight 2001:70% of association professional and technical occupations (incl journalists) have Level 4 Laid Off: 64% have Level 4+, 35% have NCTJ,
I consider journalism a calling
n = 43 Journalism defines who I am
n = 43 Journalism is just a job for me
I am proud to tell people I am a journalist
Journalism is a satisfying profession
Have you found other work?
Please mark the item that best describes your career plans
N=20 If you are returning to studying or intend to receive training what profession will you pursue
Before you were laid off, did you expect to retire as a journalist?
Do you STILL expect to retired as a journalist?
49 (34%) people answered the question. There are some very moving replies expressing personal feelings of pain and loss. Of those, 36 (73%) spoke of these kind of negative emotions. A minority 4 (8%) expressed positive emotions, such as finding better alternative employment. What is it like for you knowing your career in traditional newspaper journalism might be finished??
I feel sad and slightly numb about it all, even after all this time. : Denial(8%)
I feel shit after reading that question and wish I had never even tried to get into this bloody profession. Sad, mostly, as I think responsible local newspapers are the glue holding together communities; also angry, that the industry is being been ruthlessly dismantled by uncreative, uncaring bean-counters f to give people the service they deserve that been very frustrating. It has Very sad. Not having sufficient staf’ become "how little can we give for how much?" I am devastated, verging on depression. I did a good job and made my magazine profitable and then doubled profits and doubled them again but for greedy managements that wasn't enough. Frustrating given that the biggest threat to newspaper journalism is from the owners/management driven by the City and shareholders It's quite upsetting. I've sweated blood for varoius employers, only to be thrown on to the scrapheap Frustrating Annoying. I like to read from paper Anger(14%)
Depressing - not just personally, but because I worry that the world will be less well-informed than it ought to be in the future. Very sad - not just for me but for the industry which is run by money-hungary companies who care little for readers - specially locally. They are the ones to suffer. Breaks my heart. Yes that's a cliche but I can't believe the product I grew up with has been ruined and that the job I loved is no more. I tried to get other jobs but there were too many other journalists with the same idea. I never wanted to be a broadcast journalist so I had no option but to leave. I worked as a multimedia editor too which I did not enjoy. It wasn't challenging enough so there is no point sticking around. An understanding that much of what I have valued in this world is gone forever and, with it, my ability to provide for my family financially. Gutting, wreching, heart breaking Devastating really. I am trying to make the witch to new media, but even then the money that can be made writing or editing online is quite small and not really enough for a writer to be able to make a serious career out of it Disappointing, but unfortunately, the industry is too centred around London and the south and I am simply not willing to live at such poor pay rates in such an expensive location. Soul destroying Harrowing VERY UPSETTING Depression(40%)
A quarter of the respondents showed signs of acceptance, though in some cases mixed with depression. Resignation and lack of surprise are counterpoised by positive expressions that the future is, or will be better. I'm finding it a struggle to accept that I may never play a part in traditional newspaper journalism again, however I'm excited about what the future may hold, and I feel compassion for my former colleagues who are still at the coal face. Wonderful! Resigned to it Acceptance(25%)
A minority (8%) expressed positive emotions, such as finding better alternative employment Explore new options (8%)
53 people (37%) answered the question. Of those, the largest group, 26 (46%) directly stated money, such as bills, pensions, basics. Some (9%) also express concerns about the quality or simply the absence of employment lack of money to pursue own ideas inability to pay mortgage/bills, having to take a job idont want to do to do this. A poverty-stricken old age. Being unable to support my family financially. Not earning enough... My mortgage. My pension My penstion That I'll never work again. Journalists are not qualified to do anything else. Ensuring that my company works, and that I can provide jobs for graduates in the north, so that they don't have to move to London if they don't want to. Paying the bills! Money What worries you most about your future?
Knowing what you know now, would you still have become a journalist?
? What can we learn from the experiences of UK journalists who have lost their jobs?
In an earlier investigation into ways that European journalism schools addressed innovation, Bierhoff et al (2000) concluded that educators in different countries need to engage in a dialogue with each other as well as the industry. This study suggests that, in the interests of equipping graduates not only for employment in a turbulent sector but for wider employability and entrepreneurship, those who have left – or have been forced out of –newsrooms need to be brought into that conversation, too.
Thank you. I look forward to your insights, questions & suggestions. François Nel FPNel@uclan.ac.uk @francoisnel