This policy briefing on the economic dynamics of the UK’s commercial news industry is the final briefing to arise from our Media Influence Matrix report. It draws on the findings of the report alongside other cutting edge research to outline why a large number of newsrooms are struggling to deliver public interest journalism and maintain sustainable, secure jobs.
Our headline findings are:
- The decline of the news industry’s economic stability has led to widespread recognition of journalism as a public service crucial for democracy, currently at risk of “total collapse”
- The majority of frontline reporters, particularly in the regions, are earning very little – single parents working as reporters outside London are likely to be living near the poverty line
- Executives and shareholders are earning huge sums, enough to fund hundreds more reporter salaries and investigative projects, at the same time they’re laying off staff and receiving taxpayers’ money
- The funding ecosystem of journalism favours often salacious or frivolous, attention-commodifying, journalism rather than public interest journalism crucial for democracy to function
- Newsroom unions in the UK are well-established, and do important work, but have struggled to make frequent industry-wide gains against the onslaught of cuts
The briefing concludes with proposals to revitalise the economics and governance of the industry to make it more equal for its workers, and democratic for citizens.