As newspapers depend more on freelance journalists to produce content for print and online publications, a study by two North Carolina A&T researchers examines the pros and cons of the newspaper editor and freelance journalist relationship in the digital age.
The study was conducted by Kim Smith, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Emily Harris, M.A.J., a lecturer in the department and advisor to the award-winning A&T Register student newspaper. The researchers found no studies in the literature focusing on the editor/freelance journalist relationship in the digital age.
Such a study is important because of the dramatic changes taking place in the newspaper business. More newspapers are downsizing their full-time news staffs as print readership and ad revenues decrease, while online readership and ad revenue increase. Unable to hire full-time reporters to provide content for print and 24-hour online publications, some newspapers are forced to hire freelance (part-time) journalists, who get paid by story and receive no benefits.