by Jan Goller
Being a journalist is connected with lots of risks like being paid badly, being unemployed or working in war zones. During the last 25 years the number of killed journalists increased extremely. More than 2.300 journalists and reporters died in this period doing their job. About another alarming fact: Approximately 45 percent of freelance journalist earn less than 1.000 euros per month.
The aim of today’s Journalist Day (Día del Periodista) in Spain is to make the people aware of risks that journalists have to face on and to communicate the importance of an independent journalism. Afghanista, Syria and Iran are currently the most dangerous places for journalists to cover stories as well as Mexico, China and Philipines. Only in the last year they were killed 80 reporters which is eight percent more than in the previous year. The difficulties for journalists working in war zones are of course armed conflicts together with the impunity causing more violence. In addition, they are sometimes victims of kidnappings, disappearances and government blackmailing.
Low wages and high unemployment rates
In the first world journalists have to deal with low wages, high unemployment rates and the influences of economics and politics on the coverage. For newspaper missing advertisements are also a challenge. Due to all exercises of influence on reports the press liberty isn’t even guaranteed everywhere in Europe. In surveys 8 of 10 professionals indicate openly to be worried about unemployment and precariousness in this sector. As during the economic crisis beginning from 2007 lots of jobs in the journalism sector has been axed, these figures don’t surprise anymore. Studying journalism is gaining a lot of popularity among young students. It’s concerning that each year more than 3.000 people graduate the carrer of a journalist. This is too much for the labor market to absorb them all.
Other negative aspects that journalists have to face on are the irregular working hours (often in different shifts), physical and psychological problems arising from work hours and a lot of stress due to an excessive workload.
But this stress won’t be compensated by high wages. Around 45 percent of freelance journalists earn less than 1.000 euros per month. The wages in communication jobs are a bit higher but neither reach to more than 22.000 euros annually.
Respective the recent political situation in the United States which has always been a synonyme for liberty you can determine a step backwards. The US American journalists they have to defend themselves against Trump’s repressions. Mexico has converted to the country where the most of reporters around the world were killed.
In conclusion, it is indisputable that not all things about journalism are negative. The development of technology has also led to new job profiles such as data and traffic analysts, data journalists, digital content managers, social media experts, online layout designers and lots more. But how will develop journalism in the future? One example can be the way of covering the Olympic Games by the Washington Post. They used the Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create automatically tweets with game results. An action which has been regarded by some people as a menace. But AI also can help reporters doing determined processes in in order to have more time for investigative researches.