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Two thirds of newsrooms implement hybrid working models, says report

Reuters OxfordNearly two thirds of newsrooms have implemented hybrid working models since the Covid-19 lockdown with only 16pc returning to a pre-pandemic, office-based model according to a new report.

In its annual Changing Newsrooms report, the Reuters Institute concluded that newsrooms have “largely settled on embracing some degree of workplace flexibility.”

The Oxford-based Institute surveyed 135 senior industry leaders from 40 countries, 29 of them from the UK including some from the regional press.

It also found that nearly three quarters of newsroom leaders think artificial intelligence will improve productivity and workflows.

The survey’s main findings included:

  •  65pc of newsroom leaders who took part in our survey said that their organisations have implemented flexible and hybrid working models with new rules in place for staff.
  • 16pc said that they had largely returned to a pre-pandemic model with majority of time spent in-person in the office.
  • 30pc of respondents said staff were required to be in the office some fixed days per week and their company is enforcing this rule, but 22pc said that no one is checking if this really happens.
  • 38pc said that the shift to hybrid and flexible working has weakened staff’s sense of belonging to their organisation.
  • 74pc think that generative AI will help newsrooms increase productivity and improve workflows, without changing the essence of journalism.
  • 90pc of participants felt their organisation was doing a good job in gender diversity but only 54pc said the same when it comes to supporting staff with disabilities.

The report states: “Remote working was obviously the main focus of the report in 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic forced our social interactions to a halt and many news organisations moved their staff to work from home.

“In the two following years, a mix of remote and in-office work made the ‘hybrid newsroom’ a widespread reality, but questions remained about how exactly to implement it and with what consequences on the social and collaborative working dynamics, as well as on staff’s feeling of belonging towards their organisations.”

The report was based on a survey of a strategic sample of news industry leaders, completed between 6 September and 18 October 2023.

Respondents include editors-in-chief/executive editors, CEOs, and managing editors, as well as other senior positions in editorial, audience, talent development and commercial.

The report can be read in full here.