Icelandic newsrooms in a pandemic mode

Birgir Guðmundsson

Abstract


Covid 19 has had enormous impact on media firms all over the world, adding further economic pressures to a sector already suffering problems. Two different trends come together in the present situation, a challenge to the economic model of traditional media and a massive move to remote or working from home practices by journalists and editorial staff. This, in conjunction with other changes in the media environment, has raised questions about traditional institutions of journalism and journalist practices such as the physical newsroom. Speculation about virtual newsrooms or remote journalism practices and a wave of newsroom closures or downsizing due to Covid 19 in the summer and fall of 2020 has highlighted these concerns even further. In this context the paper looks systematically at the response of Icelandic newsrooms to the ban on gatherings that was introduced in the first wave of Covid 19 in the spring of 2020. The practical measures taken by the newsrooms are looked at, the experience of journalists recorded, and the content output measured, analysed, and compared to the same period the year before. Results show that work processes were radically changed, journalists showed flexibility and are relatively open towards permanent changes based on their experience of working from home. There is an impact on content output, but it is in most cases marginal.

Keywords


Newsrooms; journalist working practices; work from home; Covid 19; Icelandic media.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2020.16.2.4

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