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Identity fallout: The draining effects of technological and economic change on newspaper journalists
Unformatted Document Text:  IDENTITY FALLOUT 21 enabled them to perform that role. In fact, none of the economic-change scores came close to the high marks journalists gave to the importance of their job roles. These feelings can breed uncertainty in the newsroom. As more positions and resources are eliminated, journalists are increasingly uneasy about the financial viability of their employers and their own employment. More than four-fifths of the journalists said their newsrooms had laid off workers recently. Across circulation sizes, the cuts have been deep. The most recent State of the Media report (2011) indicates newspapers have slowed the hemorrhage of employees but for many journalists, personnel and other economic cuts leave them feeling the quality of the journalism they produce has been hindered. Building upon these findings, the central component of this research was exploring newspaper journalists’ identification with their organizations. Today, most newspaper journalists report having moderate organizational identification—a downward shift (although perhaps not a particularly surprising one given the multitudes of dire reports about the state of the newspaper industry) from Russo’s (1998) finding of high OI more than a decade ago. More recent research, such as the American Journalist survey, found more than half of daily newspaper journalists were “fairly satisfied” with their jobs (Weaver et al., 2007, p. 108). In his study of newsworkers at a metropolitan newspaper that had suffered downsizing measures, Reinardy (2009a) found journalists’ job satisfaction actually increased as the number of hours worked increased. So why is organizational identification declining? Job satisfaction oftentimes addresses the intrinsic aspects of the job that a person enjoys and does not explore the individual’s connection to the organization through which

Authors: Hinsley, Amber.
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IDENTITY FALLOUT  21
enabled them to perform that role. In fact, none of the economic-change scores came 
close to the high marks journalists gave to the importance of their job roles. These 
feelings can breed uncertainty in the newsroom. As more positions and resources are 
eliminated, journalists are increasingly uneasy about the financial viability of their 
employers and their own employment. More than four-fifths of the journalists said 
their newsrooms had laid off workers recently. Across circulation sizes, the cuts have 
been deep. The most recent State of the Media report (2011) indicates newspapers 
have slowed the hemorrhage of employees but for many journalists, personnel and 
other economic cuts leave them feeling the quality of the journalism they produce 
has been hindered. 
Building upon these findings, the central component of this research was 
exploring newspaper journalists’ identification with their organizations. Today, most 
newspaper journalists report having moderate organizational identification—a 
downward shift (although perhaps not a particularly surprising one given the 
multitudes of dire reports about the state of the newspaper industry) from Russo’s 
(1998) finding of high OI more than a decade ago. More recent research, such as the 
American Journalist survey, found more than half of daily newspaper journalists were 
“fairly satisfied” with their jobs (Weaver et al., 2007, p. 108). In his study of 
newsworkers at a metropolitan newspaper that had suffered downsizing measures, 
Reinardy (2009a) found journalists’ job satisfaction actually increased as the number 
of hours worked increased. So why is organizational identification declining? Job 
satisfaction oftentimes addresses the intrinsic aspects of the job that a person enjoys 
and does not explore the individual’s connection to the organization through which 


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