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Young journalists’ survey: Half start on less than £20k, 15 per cent say shorthand most important skill

By Freddy Mayhew

Nine out of ten journalists under 30 said they believe young people see journalism as an “attractive career”, according to a new survey.

Half of those questioned said their starting salary was less than £20,000 a year.

Asked who is “the most influential journalist in the UK today”, respondents put Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre top closely followed by BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

The poll of 113 full-time journalists under 30 was carried out by PR firm MHP Communications. All those surveyed were nominees for its Young Journalist Awards held earlier this month.

Half of those surveyed worked in print journalism, 30 per cent in digital journalism and 15 per cent in broadcast while the remaining worked in other types of journalism, including the trade press.

Asked if journalism is perceived by young people as an attractive career, 87 per cent said yes.

Some 88 per cent of those questioned said they  were “confident” they could make a living from journalism. More than a third (36 per cent) earned between £20,000 and £25,000 when they first joined the industry.

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Asked what were “the most useful practical skills to have” as a journalist, 60 per cent said media law. Only 15 per cent considered shorthand the most important skill, while 29 per cent said it was the least important.

Asked what journalistic job they aspired to, more than a third (36 per cent) said “editor”.

Asked if the “Fake News scandal had damaged the credibility of journalism” half said yes, while 46 per cent said they did not agree.

Other responses included:

  • What is the best way to pitch you a story?

72 per cent said email; 11 per cent said phone call; 10 per cent said in person

  • Will print newspapers still exist in 20 years’ time?

82 per cent said yes

  • Is the BBC good for UK journalism?

87 per cent said yes

Alex Bigg, chief executive of MHP Communications, said: “Young journalists are the future of the rapidly-changing news industry, and it’s vital that all comm’s professionals listen closely to their views.

“Fake news is clearly a major concern, and it will continue to be a significant challenge for businesses and the news media for the foreseeable future.”

Bigg added it was “refreshing to see optimism for the future” from young journalists.


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