Paul Holmes 31 Oct 2009 // 12:00AM GMT
The rise of digital and social media and the global economic crisis have had a profound impact on journalists in Europe, with a third of respondents to a new survey conducted by the Oriella PR Network concerned that their “traditional” media channel (whether print, radio or television) may well be taken off the market, while nearly one in five confirmed that this has already happened to their publication.
This concern was highest in the U.K., where 75 percent felt this to be the case, and lowest in Belgium and the Netherlands, where only a quarter felt this.
The potential good news for all these outlets is that the online platform, at least, offers an alternative to keep the publication alive. 10 percent have already made a complete switch from traditional to online and with the rapid growth and bullishness of online advertising at the expense of print and screen advertising, it could be argued that this number could well grow.
Oriella—a network of technology-focused public relations firms in multiple European markets—surveyed 350 journalists from broadcast, national, regional and trade media across Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK to monitor the evolution of the daily role and routine of a journalist in Europe, following up on a similar survey last year.
Nearly 60 percent agreed that the number of printed media will shrink dramatically; in Germany, Sweden and the UK, this sentiment was shared by over two thirds of all journalists. Also, over half (53 percent) felt the alternative (online media) is still a far from profitable business model. This pessimistic outlook continued when asked about the quality of journalism, with 54 percent believing this would erode due to lack of editorial resources.
However, there were also some more positive insights to take from journalists’ predictions. Only a quarter thought the number of media in total would shrink and nearly half felt that the emerging number of “new media” would create a new media landscape. Respondents in Sweden were most optimistic in this regard with two thirds supporting this view. There was also good news for the PR industry with over 40 percent of journalists claiming that the dependence on PR-driven content will increase as a consequence.
The evolution of digital practices within journalism has not relented in the last 12 months. Twitter has rapidly become one of the most effective communications tools for consumers across the globe, but especially for journalists and their publications. More than one third of all European publications now have Twitter channels, with the U.K. and the Netherlands being the earliest to adopt widely.
The result of all these changes is an increased workload for journalists with over 40 percent confirming they have to produce more content. This figure rises to over half in France, Sweden and the U.K. Almost a third (29 percent) also declare that they have to now work longer hours.
As a result, journalists are increasingly turning to user generated content to help satisfy the demand for online content. Only a fifth of all those polled do not accept UGC at all. Two-thirds (68 percent) encourage comments on stories online, while a quarter now quote bloggers in their original stories, highlighting the influence of the blogosphere as a resource for editorial content.