Journalists Say Industry Needs More Sustainable Funding Models

Two-thirds of journalists surveyed are concerned that ad revenue-based models of funding favor more short-form and “clickbaity” content. An overwhelming 99% either liked paywalls or saw them as necessary.

Cxense’s "Stop The Press" survey found 46% of reporters have a negative outlook for the future of journalism. Cxense is an Oslo, Norway-based software company that offers advertising, data-management, search, analytics and content-recommendations services. 

Less than 10% of those surveyed believe working in the industry gives them job security. Nearly 80% are concerned about the future of journalism.

The survey interviewed 153 journalists in the U.S., UK and mainland Europe who work for local, national and international publications across the news, lifestyle and business sectors.

They cited the biggest threats to journalism as the decline of quality (60%) and readers’ reluctance to pay for digital content (56%), according to the survey.



About half of the respondents blamed fake news (48%), dependency on ad revenues (47%) and shrinking newsrooms (47%) for undermining the industry.

These challenges outweighed the threat of the duopology, competition from other platforms and the industry’s failure to prepare for the digital transformation of the industry, according to the survey.

Some 89% of the journalists interviewed welcomed the increasing role of technology in journalism.  However, only one in five journalists said their newsrooms use data to deliver personalized content to their readers.

David Gosen, Chief Commercial Officer at Cxense, stated that newsrooms neglecting to use data are missing out on vital opportunities.

"If you increase the personalized content, you drive higher page views, greater dwell time and higher impressions, which enables the publisher to generate higher advertising revenues," Gosen stated.

He believes there must be a balance between tailoring content to algorithms and covering other important topics, even if they do not necessarily perform as well.

Also, 61% of the journalists surveyed said the impact of readership metrics on the content they produce was “very much/somewhat.”

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported the news business may be facing the worst job losses in a decade. About 3,000 people have been laid off or offered buyouts in the first five months of 2019. This is at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate is the lowest since 1969.

The level of attrition is the highest since 2009, when the industry saw 7,914 job cuts in the first five months of that year, after the financial crisis hit.

About 88,000 people worked in U.S. newsrooms in 2017, according to Pew Research Center.

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