A new study of redundancies among UK journalists estimates the number of jobs in mainstream media has fallen by between 15,000 to 20,000 since 2001.
Laid Off, an exploratory study by François Nel, director of the Journalism Leaders Programme at the University of Central Lancashire, in collaboration with Journalism.co.uk, says there is no straightforward answer to the question of how many journalists have lost their jobs.
But it notes a tally of trade sites shows there have been reports of more than 9,500 journalism jobs cut between January 2007 and June 2010. This is in line with the NUJ estimate that in the newspaper sector alone there have been at least 8,800 jobs lost since December 2008.
The report says: "Based on a revised 2001 baseline estimate of 55,000 to 60,000 jobs in the mainstream media, which would suggest that, as a result of structural and economic changes in the sector, the UK's mainstream journalism corps has shrunk by between a quarter and a third (27%-33%) to around 40,000."
Redundant journalists are surveyed in the report about what they planned to do next:
- In terms of career plans, the largest (19%) were intent on freelance journalism, with 16% wanting to carry on working in newspapers. The most popular career choice after journalism was public relations or copywriting, at 17%. A similar percentage planned to move into online writing or social media. 12% of respondents were planning to start their own business and 6% were looking to move into university lecturing.
- A clear majority of journalists – 59% - had thought they would stay in newspapers until retirement. Only 13% of the respondents thought that would still be the case.
- The vast majority – 68% of all respondents and 71% of editors --- said they would still have chosen journalism as a career even if they had known what would happen to the industry.
- Only 23% of the 134 respondents indicated that they had found full-time work in any sector, while a further 20% had found part-time work. The largest group – 42% – are still looking for work, while almost 15% said they were doing something else.
- The Laid Off report can be downloaded at this link