European Federation of Journalists

Confronting Austerity in Journalism

The economic crisis is severely affecting journalists and media workers, in particular in Southern Europe, where austerity measures also affect the media, in particular public broadcasting and local media. Often, media owners are cutting jobs, reducing salaries and benefits and no longer guarantee decent working conditions for journalists.

A recent survey by the EFJ has shown that the number of unemployed journalists is dramatically increasing, media are closing down which also has a devastating impact on the work of freelance journalists.

With the financial support of the European Commission, the EFJ held a two-day seminar (20 & 21 March 2014, Vienna) to discuss challenges around austerity and its impact on journalists’ working and social conditions within a changing media environment going increasingly digital but not providing sustainable job opportunities, employment conditions and economic income for journalist working online.

Unions and journalists need to find best practices and innovative ways to move on and create long term perspectives for journalists, especially the young and freelances.

Discussion concentrated on:

  • Sustainable (alternative) business models for freelance journalists (is self-publishing or crowd funding a solution?);
  • Best practice on collective bargaining in online journalism (challenges and advantages);
  • Debate with Social partners on financing journalism and keeping decent working conditions in place within framework of austerity and profound changes in media structures (technological changes);


  • Andreas K Bittner: Survey result
  • Prof. Jane B. Singer: “The Journalist as Entrepreneur: Response to Disruption”
  • Gianluca Schinaia (Italy): “FpS Media”
  • Martine Simonis (AJP, Belgium):”Appreciate freelancers: AJP’s digital Platform”
  • Luis Palacio Llanos (editor of Informe anual de la Profesión Periodística): “An introduction to APM´s report on new media launched by journalists”
  • Conclusion (English; French).