How Are We Feeling?
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How Are We Feeling?

A survey reveals the hardships of covering a life-or-death story – and what challenges will linger.

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A 2020 survey from the Journalism and the Pandemic Project delves into the situation of journalists working during the pandemic. It paints a bleak picture, but also offers some optimism. The 1,406 respondents describe restrictions, lack of protective gear, harassment from law enforcement and government officials, a flood of disinformation – some from those same officials – and the threat of the virus itself. Nevertheless, as Julie Posetti, Peter G. Brown and Emily Bell report in The Columbia Journalism Reviewmany respondents report that amid the crisis they feel a renewed commitment to their role and new levels of engagement with their audience.

Summary

Journalists face increased pressure and obstacles as they report on the coronavirus pandemic.

In May and June of 2020, the Journalism and the Pandemic Project surveyed journalists about the psychological, financial and procedural challenges of reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was part of a collaboration between the International Center for Journalists and the Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. Some 1,406 English-speaking journalists from around the world responded to the questionnaire.

The results show that the pandemic adds new stressors to a profession already reeling from problems, including economic instability, layoffs, falling salaries and outlet closures. The field has also been contending with public criticism, which is sometimes very harsh. 

Reporters have encountered physical threats.

Many employers did not provide respondents with the tools they need to work safely during a pandemic: 45% percent did not get face coverings, ...

About the Authors

Julie Posetti leads the International Center for Journalists’ global research program. Emily Bell is director of the Columbia Journalism School’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, where research director Peter Brown heads the Content Analysis Hub for the Publishers and Platforms project.


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