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Global Research Reveals Impact of COVID-19 on Business and Technology Journalists

Almost a quarter (24%) of business and technology journalists lost some work during 2020 as a result of COVID-19, with 25% required to reduce their rates, according to research from global business and technology PR firm, Touchdown PR. The study, carried out in late 2020, asked 146 business and technology journalists in 16 countries about the impact of the pandemic on their income, workload, how they adjusted to working from home and their mental health.

The research also found that nearly a fifth (18%) of journalists said they had to find alternative sources of income last year. While the findings illustrate a significant number of journalists were financially impacted in 2020, not all were affected, with the majority (75%) reporting either no change or an increase in work. Whatever their circumstances, the majority of journalists (65%) also admitted to working longer hours last year, with just 8% reporting the opposite.

Unlike many other sectors where office life dominated before the pandemic, almost half (49%) of the journalists surveyed were already working from home when lockdowns began. Of those that were not already home workers, a quarter (25%) said they found adjusting a challenge. A small minority (18%) claimed they didn’t struggle with remote working at all.

The survey also asked about the impact of the pandemic on mental health. Almost one third (32%) of respondents said their mental health had worsened during lockdown, with 23% stating they either had no one to talk to or chose not to talk to someone about their mental health.

New Trends For Media Relations Engagement

The research report, ‘Working harder but paid less?’ also examines emerging media relations trends, and offers advice on how to engage with the media community most effectively at this unprecedented time.

For example, almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents now participate in regular video conferencing calls with vendors to learn about new products and innovations. Over half (51%) estimate they are now doing video conference calls every week with around one in seven (15%) doing them every day.

When asked what the ideal length of a press briefing over video conferencing should be, over half (59%) picked an ideal length of between 10-20 minutes. Just under a quarter (23%) preferred 20-30 minutes, and only 3% wanted to go over 30 minutes.

“The survey confirms some trends we already suspected, in particular the negative impact on the finances and mental health of many journalists during the pandemic,” commented James Carter, founder and CEO of Touchdown. “However, on a positive note, most have been highly resilient and have adapted quickly to working within the rules of their respective countries. Despite this, PR professionals need to work hard to meet the changing needs of their media contacts if they are to optimise each interaction.”

To download the full report, please click here.