How journalists can protect themselves against the main challenges and concerns of the sector
Last Sunday, World Journalists Day was celebrated and this prompted reflection on the dangers or adversities these professionals face. According to the insurance comparator Acierto.com, over the past 25 years, more than 2,300 journalists and reporters have died in the exercise of their profession. Most have done so by covering the current situation in war zones like Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, but also in other countries like Mexico, China and the Philippines. In 2019 alone, 49 journalists were killed, 389 imprisoned and 57 kidnapped.
The most striking difficulty is that which concerns armed conflict and war; a context in which impunity fuels violence and reinforces the need to strengthen the protection of professionals who currently cover dangerous areas and who are also victims of kidnappings, disappearances and government blackmail. Not to mention the hardships they face in the First World, where unemployment, business interests, the advertising crisis and political influence condition their work and even press freedom.
Main concerns of the sector
Unemployment and precariousness. Both are postulated among the main concerns of this group. 8 out of 10 professionals are openly concerned about these issues. This does not surprise us if we take into account the number of ERAs that many communication groups have carried out since the onset of the economic crisis. The large number of graduates who leave college each year and the growing demand for this career – which does not at all match the labor-absorbing capacity of a dying market – doesn’t help. neither. Professional intrusion. This is another question that “surprises” and “annoys” nearly half of them. And to this can be added the recent incorporation of robotic journalists or Artificial Intelligence in editorial offices like the Washington Post on the occasion of events like the Olympic Games, etc. An initiative that was seen as a threat. Those who work, on the other hand, have to deal with reconciliation difficulties on numerous occasions – due to the schedule – and some have even experienced physical and psychological problems linked to working hours, stress and excessive workload. Low floors and self-contained false floors. Professionals are faced with the stress that the salaries managed by the group do not contribute and the problems of bogus self-employed. For starters, up to 45% of freelance journalists have a precarious salary. Salaries in communication are a bit higher, although this depends largely on the country where it is practiced. In this specialty, yes, most are relatively satisfied with their salary.
How to protect yourself
By focusing on war correspondents, the insurance comparator Acierto.com, emphasizes the importance of engaging a policy that protects them and their loved ones. And there is a big difference between them and the rest of the journalists, as theirs can be considered a risky profession which could lead to an additional premium. In all cases, the most important thing is that the insurance responds to an emergency, especially if it requires hospital admission, or urgent repatriation to the country of origin. In addition, the section on the limitations of visiting the psychologist should be reviewed, which is essential considering that some war correspondents have post-traumatic stress.
Life insurance with disability coverage – temporary or absolute – will also be essential. Likewise, you should consider his death in order to protect his family in this case. Precisely because of the risks, some insurance companies exclude these professionals. Others even have exclusions for war zones. However, other companies cover this risk, even differentiating themselves by risk area – the redundancy pays off. From a low level of danger to an extreme level of risk. In other words, the premium to be covered in these latter areas is up to four times higher (compared to low risk areas). Age and pre-existence also determine the price and even the acceptance of the journalist as insured.
Artificial intelligence, new opportunities
Of course, not everything is negative, but the development of technology has also given birth to new profiles such as data and traffic analysts, data journalists, digital content managers, content writers. brand, social media experts, interactive infographics and online layout designers, etc.
Regarding artificial intelligence and data analysis, the automation of certain processes will make it possible to compare sources and accelerate the news that previously required a greater investment of time; time that journalists can now devote to researching and developing other more sophisticated and interesting information for the public.
In all cases, and as the latter is implemented (Artificial Intelligence), the media must put in place new training plans to protect this data, as well as specific policies aimed at preventing leaks. and more. A point where insurance against cyber attacks against businesses is increasingly important.