A survey to find out if journalists are more stressed than four years ago is being launched by the National Union of Journalists.
Journalists working for regional publishers across Scotland will be asked about stress levels at work after what the union claims is a huge increase in calls about the problem.
A similar questionnaire by the union in 2008 found there were high levels of stress among those working in the media and this led to briefings at the Scottish Parliament with MSPs calling for employers to take action.
The union’s Scottish assistant organiser Dominic Bascombe said: “Essentially there was a survey done in 2008 which highlighted quite high levels of stress among a number of publishers and broadcasters. A lot was done at the time to highlight that and call on employers to do better.
“What we have found since then is that we are getting inundated by members who are suffering stress at work. People are developing illnesses as a result of the amount of stress they are under at work, so we decided to look at it again.
“We intend to look across the board at major employers in the industry to find out how their journalists are feeling and identifying ways forward for the future.
“The reality is that for many of them, the past couple of years have been quite difficult for our industry and in trying to deal with that, you have got employers that are not the most scrupulous who do look to take it out on staff by increasing their workloads. We expect to see very high levels of stress back.”
He said the surveys, which are based on guidelines by the Health and Safety Executive, would be sent to media companies where changes were taking place, such as at Johnston Press which has introduced a “digital first” strategy.
Added Dominic: “If it is not done properly and there’s more pressure on journalists, then something has to give.”
The NUJ’s previous stress survey was launched in September 2008 across the UK because union members had highlighted the problem as a major health and safety issue then.
Jim Chisholm, director of the Scottish Newspaper Society, said: “The SNS will be very interested in any survey of staff’s attitudes regarding stress levels and conditions at work, and would welcome the opportunity to assist in the methodology of the research.”