How bad is the publishing recession?

According to anecdotal evidence – it’s pretty bad. It’s not a good time for journalism students graduating this year, certainly. 

Tracking the job ads on gives a rough indication of how the job market is going. 

Just before Christmas 2008, there were just over 100 jobs on the site – mainly journalism, but with some PR/corporate comms-type work as well.

In the new year, however, this plummeted to around 35 – a drop of nearly two-thirds. It was at that point that I got anxious about my future in journalism and went on a drive to pull in more work. 

6454Now, the number of jobs on the site has bounced back to 50-plus. Slightly healthier, but only half the level it was a few months ago. Even if some of the jobs are in the joke money bracket. I mean, £7 an hour? That’s Tesco checkout money. I’m sure I’d prefer to do the writing, but it’s not worth getting a degree for. 

No – none of this is seasonally adjusted or anything: there’s no statistical rigour in this. But it is indicative of how things are going. Frankly, I’d be happy if things didn’t get any worse from this point. Though there’s no guarantee.

So – is there still life in freelance journalism? Oh yes – but you have to graft that bit harder to make ends meet. Up next, a series of posts about surviving the recession…


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