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Journalists who have lost their jobs in the UK in the past five years still have an enduring love and passion for the industry, despite struggling to find new work and fears over money, according to new research conducted by and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The report 'Laid Off: What Do UK Journalists Do Next?' was conducted between November 2009 and January 2010 and asked 144 respondents from across the industry about their experiences of redundancy and unemployment.

Key findings from the research include:
  • Most respondents came from the local and regional press: 50 per cent were working on regional daily papers and 28 per cent on regional weeklies. More than half of those who lost their jobs on regional dailies were reporters (31 per cent);
  • 64 per cent were made redundant in 2009;
  • 23 per cent of respondents had a postgraduate degree and 55 per cent an undergraduate degree;
  • 41 per cent of respondents have been journalists for 10 years or fewer;
  • respondents felt a strong link with journalism with the majority saying it defined them, was a calling or was more than a job.
Some key quotes from respondents:
  • "I have been left feeling hurt by the whole experience, not because I lost my job, but knowing that people with a passion for making a difference are not being treated seriously because management just want to replace these people with press releases;"
  • "Other professions can gain a lot by hiring journalists because of their work ethic and integrity, and employers seem to be responding positively,"
  • "[J]ournalists of the future will lack the knowledge and drive to challenge abuses of power.”
"While the findings cannot be generalised, we believe they should not be ignored. These voices can help inform media managers, union officials, policy makers, training bodies, educators, would-be journalists, those still working and, perhaps most importantly, the thousands of other journalists who have left - or have been forced out - of the profession," says Francois Nel, author of the report and director of the journalism leaders' programme at UCLan.

The report can be viewed below or downloaded at this link.

More interviews with respondents and resources for laid off journalists will be available on via the laidoff tag.

We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions on this exploratory study. And, in particular, your views on what we should learn from - and do with - this information.

Please post your thoughts on, or send them directly to the study author François Nel at FPNel [at] of editor laura [at], or on Twitter using the hashtag #laidoff. You can also track coverage of job losses in the journalism industry via our timeline.

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