Long hours killing journalism
A culture of overwork is seriously threatening the future of quality journalism and impacting on journalists' health.
That’s the claim from the National Union of Journalists on the day that the TUC publishes figures showing that media companies are benefiting from £288 million of unpaid overtime.
Figures released today (15/02/08) by the TUC, show that people working in the media are fifty per cent more likely to work unpaid overtime as the rest of the UK’s working population, making the industry one of the worst offenders.
NUJ General Secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: "It’s easy for employers to say that long hours are the norm for media workers, but this culture is symptomatic of big business’s lack of respect for quality journalism. Whilst it’s true that journalists have always put in extra effort when a story demands it, many bosses now demand people put in the extra hours, day after day, week after week. That has a knock on effect on the quality of work journalists are able to produce."
Today’s figures show that across the media sector 49,000 employees are working unpaid overtime. The TUC has designated Friday 22 February as Work Your Proper Hours Day, to mark the day when the average UK employee would start getting paid if they did all their unpaid extra hours at the start of the year.
Jeremy continued: "Media workers are expected to produce ever greater quantities of content against a background of dwindling newsroom resources. The result is that stresses are starting to show. Because our members are committed to their profession they put in the hours needed to get the work done. But journalism is suffering as a consequence, to say nothing about the impact on our members’ health and well-being. It’s time for media organisations to give staff the time they need to do their jobs properly."