Online Journalists Optimistic About Future

    April 6, 2009

Online journalists are more optimistic about the future of their profession than those who work in traditional media, according to a new survey by the Online News Association and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

A majority of those surveyed (57%) say the Internet is " changing the fundamental values of journalism." The biggest changes, the respondents said, were a loosening of standards (45%), more outside voices (31%) and an increased emphasis on speed (25%).

For the most part, online journalists say they have been spared the kinds of staff cutbacks seen in traditional media in 2008. Many (39%) reported staff increases compared with a year earlier. Another third said their staff levels have remained the same. Less that a quarter (23%) saw staff decreases.

When it came to revenue, 39 percent of respondents were "very confident" that online news would "find a profitable and self-sustaining revenue model, while 43 percent were somewhat confident. Only 11 percent were "not too" confident.

Confidence in Finding a Profitable Economic Model

Their comments reflected more stubborn optimism than a clear plan about the future. Ass the editor of an engineering Web site put it," It’s a difficult environment for journalists with the double whammy of the Internet changing the game and a god-awful economy. We soldier on."

When asked what would likely be the most important form of revenue in three years, the majority (65%) of online journalists name advertising. Thirty-two percent cited display advertising, which has been the biggest source of online news revenue, 19 percent named search ads and 14 percent video ads.