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Identity fallout: The draining effects of technological and economic change on newspaper journalists
Unformatted Document Text:  IDENTITY FALLOUT 25 provided comments at the end of the survey, about half wrote about the detrimental effect of economic changes on their jobs and the industry. It may be that journalists at the largest news organizations are simply better at invoking cognitive coping mechanisms that allow them to maintain higher organizational identification in the face of economic changes, or that larger newspapers were better able to guard against their journalists experiencing economic changes that have been more harsh at small- and midsize-circulation newspapers. In totality, this research found that despite the recent turmoil in the newspaper industry journalists maintained their ties to job roles that they see as defining their work. Technological and economic changes, however, have in most cases impeded their ability to perform their job roles well. Journalists seem more accepting of technological changes, especially if they perceive those changes as enabling them to improve the quality of their work but did not express great enthusiasm for using new media and other technology tools. These feelings likely are drawn from economic changes at their organizations as well. The vast majority of journalists have seen the size of their newsrooms shrink in recent years, with some losing more than 30% of the editorial workforce. Journalists are being asked to do more with less—technology- related tasks have been added to their jobs at the same time that they have had to take on additional work due to staffing cuts and the elimination of other resources. More than four-fifths of journalists said technology and economic changes at their newspaper have led to a greater workload. Negative perceptions about the impact of those changes drives down news workers’ identification with their organizations, especially at small and midsize newspapers. Managers at these publications should

Authors: Hinsley, Amber.
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IDENTITY FALLOUT  25
provided comments at the end of the survey, about half wrote about the detrimental 
effect of economic changes on their jobs and the industry. It may be that journalists 
at the largest news organizations are simply better at invoking cognitive coping 
mechanisms that allow them to maintain higher organizational identification in the 
face of economic changes, or that larger newspapers were better able to guard 
against their journalists experiencing economic changes that have been more harsh 
at small- and midsize-circulation newspapers.
In totality, this research found that despite the recent turmoil in the newspaper 
industry journalists maintained their ties to job roles that they see as defining their 
work. Technological and economic changes, however, have in most cases impeded 
their ability to perform their job roles well. Journalists seem more accepting of 
technological changes, especially if they perceive those changes as enabling them to 
improve the quality of their work but did not express great enthusiasm for using new 
media and other technology tools. These feelings likely are drawn from economic 
changes at their organizations as well. The vast majority of journalists have seen the 
size of their newsrooms shrink in recent years, with some losing more than 30% of 
the editorial workforce. Journalists are being asked to do more with less—technology-
related tasks have been added to their jobs at the same time that they have had to 
take on additional work due to staffing cuts and the elimination of other resources. 
More than four-fifths of journalists said technology and economic changes at their 
newspaper have led to a greater workload. Negative perceptions about the impact of 
those changes drives down news workers’ identification with their organizations, 
especially at small and midsize newspapers. Managers at these publications should 


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