Survey: 96 per cent of broadcast journalists enjoy jobs - but 'inept management' and bullying are concerns - Press Gazette

Survey: 96 per cent of broadcast journalists enjoy jobs - but 'inept management' and bullying are concerns

Broadcast journalists have complained about "inept management" and bullying in a Press Gazette survey.

More than 100 journalists working for broadcast organisations – in television, radio and online – filled in the anonymous questionnaire, out of a total of more than 700.

Asked to rate their place of work out of ten, their average score was 7.1. This was below the 7.7 average from consumer magazine journalists and 7.3 for freelances. But it was above every other category Press Gazette has focused on: national newspapers, 6.8; business-to-business, 6.7; online journalism, 6.6; regional newspaper journalism, 6.1; and news agency work, 5.9.

Four out of the 102 broadcast journalists said they did not enjoy their job and one did not answer this question. This means that 96 per cent of the journalists – a higher proportion than in any other sector – said they enjoyed their job.

Some 42 out of the 102 broadcasters said they worked for the BBC. Others may have worked for the corporation but chose not to name their employer. 

BBC journalists rated the corporation 6.6 out of ten on average.

The survey also asked participants to say how much they earned in their job. This showed that broadcast journalists generally earn more than their print and online colleagues.

In total, 695 journalists who filled in the survey chose to answer this question. The most common salary bracket, provided by 134 participants, was £30-40,000.

Among the 97 broadcasters who provided their salary bracket, the most common was £40-50,000 (22 out of 97). This was also the case at the BBC, where 13 out of 41 said they earned a salary within this bracket.

In total, 173 out of 695, representing 24.9 per cent, who filled in the survey earned between £40-50,000 or more. Among broadcasters, this figure was 42 out of 97, or 43.3 per cent.

The two broadcasters who earned £100,000 or more were freelances who also said they worked across different mediums.

'Halfwits promoted to managerial positions and shitting on everything'

Among those who identified themselves as BBC journalists, management was a recurring theme in the section of the questionnaire asking: "What concerns do you have about your place of work?"

This reflects the results of an internal BBC survey, seen by Press Gazette, which revealed 43 per cent of staff agreed with the statement: "I have confidence in decisions made by the BBC Executive Team and my Divisional Leadership Team."

Asked to list their concerns about the BBC in Press Gazette's survey, one senior broadcast journalist in the World Service said: "Halfwits promoted to managerial positions and shitting on everything." Asked for the positives, the journalist – who rated their place of work at one out of ten – said: "Nothing, it is absolutely crap."

A BBC monitoring journalist said: "There is a culture of bullying in the organisation exercised systemically by senior managers. Any dissent or disagreement gets crushed."

A reporter said: "Level upon level of inept management."

A BBC producer said: "Very poor management who understand nothing about journalism. Constant pointless restructuring and redundancies."

BBC journalists also shared concerns about bullying and "unfair" recruitment practices – also issues highlighted in the internal survey.

The producer added: "Horrible conditions to work in. Very poor attitude among colleagues. Lack of respect. Lack of opportunity to work on stories, constantly churning out Twitter-related nonsense."

A senior broadcast journalist listed their concerns as: "1. Political interference disguised as licence fee negotiations, 2. Senior management pay and excess alongside below inflation pay for journalists, 3. Failure to hold bullies to account, 4. Unfair recruitment and jobs being given to mates without process."

Several BBC journalists also said they had concerns about political interference ahead of Royal Charter renewal.

A reporter listed their concerns as: "Bullying, plus contraction of the corporation, and political pressure."

Away from the BBC, a Sky Sports journalists said their concerns were: "Zero opportunity and encouragement, dismal management."

Another Sky Sports journalist said "commercial pressures sometimes affect editorial integrity".

A senior journalist from a US-based channel working in London said: "Advertorial pressure, bullying by certain senior management, pregnancy discrimination, safety of sources, lack of development, lack of top quality senior staff."

And a Russia Today journalist said: "Poor management, all staff very young and inexperienced, no forward planning, people who have no passion for job."

'Fish and chip Fridays in the canteen'

Asked what they enjoyed about their jobs, BBC survey participants spoke of their pride in the journalism they produce.

One BBC editor said the corporation was capable of "serving the public in a way that the commercial sector can't do any more".

A senior boradcast journalist listed: "Colleagues; pride in institution; sense of co-operation; fish and chip Fridays in the canteen."

A BBC Scotland journalist said the corporation was "still trusted and fearless".

A BBC monitoring journalist said: "BBC values of fairness and impartiality, diversity of staff, good procedures in place to deal with most matters."

And a trainee journalist said: "Supportive environment, diverse opportunities to move roles and develop new skills, high commitment to ethical, progressive journalism that seeks to inform the audience in a way that helps them be an active participant in a democratic society, experimentation with new media to better tell stories."

Another journalist said: "The commitment of low paid journalists to defending BBC journalism."

Away from the BBC, a Sky Sports journalist said: "Staff treated well overall, pay is fair, benefits are strong."

And an ITN assistant producer said: "Get the time to do in depth, long form investigative journalism."

There are 64,000 people in the UK who call themselves journalists, according to the Government's Labour Force Survey.

And in June last year Press Gazette – as part of a project to mark the publication's 50th birthday – launched a survey to find out who they are, where they work, how much they earn, what they do, what concerns they have about their work and whether they enjoy their jobs.

Over three weeks, more than 700 people filled in the survey after it was promoted on the Press Gazette website, on Twitter and via email

The full survey, which is no longer open for entries, is below.

Picture: Shutterstock



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