Journalists affect the day-to-day running of political and social affairs in the U.S. and the world over because they are able to influence public and international opinion. According to U.S.A Today, journalists such as Walter Cronkite have been symbols of a voice of reason when the nation has experienced disaster and instability. Despite the broad reach and influence, being a journalist comes with various disadvantages.
Fewer Employment Opportunities
Economic recessions reduce companies’ spending, and this negatively affects their spending on advertising, which is the major earner for media companies. This can lead to media companies’ closure or staff layoffs, making it hard for journalists to secure employment. According to Project for Excellence in Journalism, newspapers offered fewer employment opportunities for journalists in 2003 than in 1990.
Journalists cover life-threatening events such forest fires, wars and hurricanes. According to Texas based photojournalist Mark Hancock, who participated in the covering Hurricane Katrina and has worked for Dallas Morning News, covering natural disaster events sometimes involves health risks such as wading through toxic materials. There is also the danger of drowning or been hit by falling trees and crumbling buildings. Cammilo Chaparro, a Colombian reporter with RCNTV in the Colombian capital, Bogota, notes that journalists covering drug trafficking scams continuously receive death threats, leading to murders that authorities are incapable of solving.
Technological advancements in news coverage involve using devices such as mobile phones. This can be a challenge to journalists. According to Jonathan Hewitt of City University, journalists may use mobile phones to cover stories that are difficult to get out owing to media restrictions, but mobile footage might be of poor quality, and this might make the public less trusting of the story.
Journalism involves working under pressure to deliver professional write-ups on matters affecting the society. This can be difficult, given the level of competition in the field, because journalists aspire to come up with the best-selling story without compromising journalistic ethics. People with useful information on stories such as public scams may demand payment from journalists or media houses for them to disclose the story. This can be challenging for journalists working for media houses that are not able pay for the information. Some media houses may refuse to make such payments on ethical grounds.