Close to a thousand journalists have been handed the pink slip. With a financial slowdown looming over the country, a really bad hit has been taken by media houses. According to a report in Exchange4Media, Journalists across print, television and digital media are being served termination notices without much explanation. With newspapers, digital mediums and TV Channels closing down bureaus, shifting focus from the smaller ones to the bigger bureaus.
Exchange4Media writes the industry has also been in a state of gloom because of a number of newspaper editions from leading media houses being forced to shut down, leaving several journalists high and dry.
A regional channel based in North East India closed down most of its bureaus. One of the reporters, who just out of her passion for journalism, stayed away from her family in a bureau in North East, recently had to leave when the bureau shut down.
Like any other business, media has also been affected. It is worse in the media sector because the current job scenario in the media industry makes one not want to work in the media at all after getting fired.
According to Exchange4Media, a woman who worked for an opinion-based digital platform along with her entire team of eight journalists, including her editor, were told that their services were terminated.
This is not an isolated example. Let alone smaller platforms, even leading media houses known for their stability have taken to downsizing. Given the job scenario for journalists at the moment, the woman and her colleagues are now even open to moving out of the industry to make ends meet.
“Most media companies are top heavy and overstaffed. A lot of media houses took adventurous decisions in terms of product launches and hired journalists at extremely high packages of anywhere between ₹25 lakh and ₹ 30 lakh and unfortunately it turned out to be an unsustainable model,” said senior journalist and editor, Alok Mehta to Exchange4Media.
Apart from layoffs there is also a slowdown in the hiring and remuneration process across media houses. An English daily has given increments in the range of 2% and 5%, even to those who have been graded in the top performer's category. Print and TV put together the maximum increments have not exceeded beyond 8%-10%.
“Journalists should look beyond media now,” said Rajneesh Singh, a media industry veteran who was Group Head-HR at TV18 India Limited.