Facebook still most-used social media platform for Australian journalists: report

Medianet has released its Australian Media Landscape Report 2022, and Facebook remained the most widely-used social media platform for respondents in 2021.

Despite this, the percentage of journalists using the site for work has dropped both years since Medianet’s 2019 media survey (from 88% in 2019 and 83% in 2020 to 80% in 2021).

Twitter also saw a slight decline in professional use by journalists, but LinkedIn use has significantly increased from 48% of survey respondents in 2019 to 61% in 2021.

The survey also demonstrated a significant gender pay gap in the media industry, with 30% of male journalists earning over $100,000 p.a., compared to just 16% of females and 12% of non-binary journalists.

Meanwhile, television is the highest paid sector, with 40% of television journalists earning over $100,000 p.a, compared to around 20% of respondents working in radio, digital or print journalism.

Industry and professional contacts was the top story source for 88% of journalists surveyed, while 82% said it was through press releases.

The most widely valued aspect for journalists when receiving pitches or press releases from PR was that content is relevant to the journalists’ specific area of work and their target audience.

In contrast, 68% of journalists responded that one of their greatest ‘pet peeves’ when working with PR is receiving pitches for stories not relevant to their field or audience.

As for the effects of COVID-19, 94% of respondents felt the pandemic impacted on the ability of journalists to work effectively in 2021.

Restrictions on freedom of movement and the financial repercussions of the pandemic on media organisations were the key factors identified by journalists as having the greatest effects.

Medianet director of media intelligence, Amrita Sidhu, said that while there had been some positive financial developments in the industry in 2021, resulting in new jobs and enhanced coverage, journalists’ work has remained significantly challenged since 2020.

“Despite the integral role of the media over the past two years, the pandemic has clearly taken its toll on journalists,” she said.

The percentage of those who reported that an increase in harassment or undermining of the media had the greatest impact on journalists’ work almost tripled in 2021 (11%) compared to 2020 (4%). Many reported being intimidated, threatened or abused because of their profession.

Younger journalists were particularly affected by harassment and undermining, with 23% of respondents under 30 years of age identifying it as having the greatest impact compared to just 6% of respondents over 40 years.

Mental health was the greatest personal challenge for journalists in 2021, with younger respondents once again particularly affected. 56% of respondents under 30 noted it as one of their greatest challenges in 2021, compared to 28% of those over 40 years old.

“Journalists reported being yelled at and spat on in the street and receiving death threats, as well as describing the impact of burnout from the constant news cycle and covering difficult and sad news stories,” Sidhu said.

“It’s important that we understand the barriers and difficulties journalists face so we can continue to support them to deliver the important information we rely on.”

51% of journalists responded that they had noticed themselves or their media organisation seeking more positive or ‘feel good’ stories to provide a balance to the pandemic coverage.

The survey also showed that there was a significant increase since 2020 in those who responded that an increase in harassment or undermining of the media had the greatest impact.

In addition to this, 62% of respondents said the content they or their media organisation produce is affected by the financial considerations of their media organisations, for example trying to create content that will generate more ‘clicks’ or subscribers.

A further 67% responded that they always aim for objectivity in their media work, while 48% of journalists said they are expecting their employment may change in the coming year.

This survey was conducted between October and November 2021 to provide insights into the work and preferences of Australian journalists and help respond to some of the challenges they are facing in the industry. A total of 983 journalists participated in the anonymous survey.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.