The Impact of Changing Work Practices in Journalism in Ireland
Journalists are working in an ever-changing environment (where precarity has become commonplace). Reporters are increasingly required to multi-task, as news has become ubiquitous. This includes writing and editing copy, posting content online and on social media, sourcing images, recording and editing audio and recording pieces to camera: the traditional television, radio and print reporter all rolled into one. Yet, additional duties are not matched by increased pay; in some instances resources have been cut, and management cite reduced advertising revenue as the main reason. This research examined the impact of those changes to work practices on journalists, the media industry, and on wider society in Ireland, where multi-tasking has become more prevalent in the past 10 to 15 years and the pressures faced by journalists have intensified in the aftermath of COVID-19. Twelve journalists working in the media in Ireland were interviewed as part of this research. Their perceptions on the main influences on their work practices were explored. The findings of this research argue that due to the relentless drive for profit maximization, the result is that insufficient time and resources are made available to run newsrooms adequately and this is particularly prevalent in the regional press. This means ‘desk’ journalism is prioritized over ‘field’ reporting, while the battle between accuracy and immediacy is placing journalists under immense pressure and this also affects the quality of content produced and disseminated. Also, there is insufficient focus by media organizations on time intensive journalism i.e., investigative journalism—which potentially impacts everyone’s lives—and this influences how ordinary citizens understand the world around them. This research argues that the ability of journalism to hold the powerful to account is diminishing. Journalism, in its current trajectory, does not fulfil its Fourth Estate or ‘watchdog’ function, and critically, this influences people’s understanding of society, as this research outlines.
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