Journalism jobs can be difficult to come by, and even large companies do not regularly seek new hires. Data on recruitment showed that Reach PLC was the most active recruiter of journalists over a three-year period, whereas the BBC, News UK, and ITV accounted for just 16 percent of all journalism job postings in that time. With many recruiters based in London, it follows that the lion’s share of journalism job postings are based in the UK capital.
For those seeking to break into journalism, then, the relative scarcity of available positions and need to relocate are two obstacles prospective employees can expect to face. Younger applicants, in particular, may also struggle to get a foot on the ladder, given that the majority of journalists employed in the United Kingdom are aged 30 years old or above. Meanwhile, those already employed in the field have other issues to grapple with.
Journalism and its challenges
Globally, according to a 2020 study, one of the most notable challenges faced by journalists was public pressure to ensure opposing views of polarizing issues were reported in a balanced manner. Whilst the two leading challenges pertained to the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of survey, other issues cited included reporting on racist or xenophobic discrimination and distinguishing between fact and fiction in political and election coverage.
Consumer confidence is also a factor. A report on trust in journalists revealed that just 13 percent of respondents from Great Britain considered journalists to be trustworthy. Some UK consumers now turn to influencers for news instead, and there is growing pressure on journalists to satisfy public expectations in their reporting. The manner in which sensitive content is handled is more under the spotlight than ever, and readers have their own ideas on how such topics should be reported on. A key example of this can be seen in a survey conducted in the UK in early 2022, which found that attitudes to broadcast reporting on racist abuse differed according to respondents’ ethnicity.
Whilst it is true that certain topics are more divisive than others, when it comes to sensitive or polarizing content, the way a report is written and phrased can carry significant weight. This is especially relevant in light of the rising prevalence of so-called cancel culture. Journalists both in the UK and around the world also face the unfortunate risks of online or physical abuse and threats. Press freedom in the United Kingdom has also worsened in recent years, a situation which, if not tackled, could lead to a drop in journalistic pluralism.
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