Journalism job seekers feel the squeeze of the job market

Journalism job seekers feel the squeeze of the job market

For the first time this year, hiring in the technology, information and media industries on LinkedIn fell in the month of June.

LinkedIn’s latest monthly workforce report published Wednesday found hiring fell in those industries by 4.6% year-over-year, and 9.1% month-over-month. The last time hiring was down in this category was in January 2021, when hiring fell by 1.9% year-over-year. (LinkedIn calculates “hiring rate” by measuring the number of LinkedIn members in each industry who added a new employer to their profile in the same month the new job began, divided by the total number of LinkedIn members in the U.S.)

The dip in hiring makes sense, given that a few large digital media companies have slowed hiring in the past few months. Vox Media and Insider have done so, citing the downturn in the economy. Vice Media Group has reportedly also tapped the brakes on new hires. Not to mention the hiring slowdowns announced by tech companies like Microsoft, Meta and Snap.

A lot of media companies aren’t hiring writers. They’re hiring finance people, lawyers, tech people.

Anonymous freelance journalist

How does this impact journalists looking for a new job? 

“I’ve cast a wider net,” said a freelance journalist who asked to remain anonymous. The journalist — who has two ongoing freelance writing gigs — has applied to a few positions in the past few months. But she’s finding it’s slim pickings out there.

“In the past month — I don’t want to say I haven’t seen anything, but it kind of feels like I haven’t seen anything,” she said. “A lot of media companies aren’t hiring writers. They’re hiring finance people, lawyers, tech people.”

When asked if she’d seen the headlines about media companies chiseling at their hiring plans, she said she’d seen a few. Coming across coverage of the issue is “almost comforting… because it’d be like, ‘OK, it’s not just me,’” she said.

Another reporter Digiday spoke with who asked to remain anonymous left her job as a senior writer at a large women-focused digital publisher in June. She thinks it was the wrong time to leave.

“Most people on Twitter are announcing jobs now. I will admit, I feel like I did choose to get back out there — not at the worst time — but the job market as far as media goes is a little slim,” she said. When she applied to jobs in January, she saw a “bevy of robust opportunities.”

Writer and editor positions are “very hard to find right now,” she added.

Because of this, the writer is expanding her search. She’s applying to roles outside of the media, in areas like arts, programming and tech. “It’s something I considered but never actually acted on until now,” she said.

The other side of the coin

But, it’s not all bad news. Media companies like BuzzFeed, The Washington Post, Forbes, Bloomberg and Hearst are continuing to hire

Right now it’s just business as usual, keep going and see what happens.

Dan Rohn, founder, JournalismJobs.com

Job postings to the site JournalismJobs.com continue to be “very robust,” said Dan Rohn, who founded and runs the platform. JournalismJobs.com has about 1,100 jobs in print, broadcast and digital media, Rohn said. This number has stayed “pretty constant” over the past few years — other than a “major dip” in March, April and May 2020 due to the pandemic, he said.

After seeing a number of large media companies announce hiring slowdowns, Rohn wonders each week if he’ll start to see a drop in postings on his site. “But it’s been very strong,” he said.

Many postings on the site come from smaller newspapers around the country, Rohn noted. He has not noticed a “pull back at all” from those publications. Large digital media companies based in major metropolitan cities over-hired in the past few years, which has led to those companies having to adjust to market conditions with layoffs and hiring freezes, he said. “Market dynamics really vary based on geographic location,” Rohn said.

“Right now it’s just business as usual, keep going and see what happens,” he said. 

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