The journalism landscape is an ever changing and ever progressing one. Whether it is the surge in popularity of the internet or the dying art of print journalism, it never stands still. With 20 years of trade experience, local freelance journalist Ash Loveridge has certainly seen some developments within the industry. However, arguably the biggest changes since the turn of the century have come during the Coronavirus outbreak.
English football ground to a halt in March as part of the Prime Minister’s demands that the country as a whole should lockdown. The Premier League season then started up again three months later once they were able to safely play matches but the major change being that no fans were allowed back into stadia. Now eight months on from that initial lockdown football is continuing but is still being played in front of empty seats.
The adjustments to the sport have had huge impacts behind the scenes and arguably one industry impacted the most by the changes is journalism.
Speaking on the issue, Loveridge said: “One of the biggest changes is it has proven that working from home is possible.
“It does isolate you and I don’t think it’s really good for people’s mental health.”
Since the Covid-19 outbreak there has been huge uncertainty over job security in practically every sector and journalism is no different. With news companies now having to make ruthless cuts to balance the books, the future of what journalism will look like is unclear and Loveridge is worried for it.
“I am worried about the future of journalism,” he admitted. “You have to question where the hell are the jobs going to be.”
There have been important measures put in place by individual clubs to ensure the safety of those in attendance. Loveridge believes that these safety precautions are important and are being carried out well.
“Clubs are following the rule book and the rules are very stringent,” he added. “For instance, you get zapped with the temperature checker and for someone reason I always get nervous!”
Boreham Wood have begun refusing local newspapers attending games in an attempt to reduce the number of media representatives at their matches. They argue that a match report is “non-essential” and can be completed at home if the journalist purchases an online match pass.
Loveridge has his own opinion on the matter, he said: “I think you get a better feel for the game when you’re there sat in the stadium. However, you’re probably going to see a lot more on IFollow because you’ve got a better view to a certain extent.”
What is clear to see is that Covid-19 will continue to pose an issue to not just journalism and football but the entire world until a vaccine can be found. Prior to the virus, the media industry was already fragile and print journalism in particular was in a decline. Sadly, the issues Coronavirus has caused for journalism may be hard to bounce back from and adds more uncertainty on what the future may look like.