How has Covid Affected Journalism?

September 23, 2020

In a candid discussion, the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, Emily Bell, spoke with Universidad Diego Portales Journalism professor, Paula Escobar, about how the Covid-19 pandemic is transforming journalism.

The trends seen in newsrooms before the outbreak have only been accelerated with the advent of the economic and health crisis:

  • Loss of advertising revenue for traditional media, particularly to social media platforms.
  • End of print altogether, or a drastic reduction of print to favor online formats.
  • An increase in people paying for news, but for a small number of subscriptions.
  • Consolidation of the sector into a few very big players, including Facebook and Google, that control news output. “The NY Times is the biggest it’s ever been,” Bell noted.
  • Due to a lack of jobs, journalists are leaving the newsroom to address a narrow audience, with a proliferation of small, single-person publications – newsletters, podcasts, and personalization of media.

With the pandemic, Bell has also observed amplified collaboration between news organizations, more remote working – calling into question the future of the physical newsroom, and an increased workload and pressure on journalists with a higher risk of burnout.