Journalists performance are now measured based on the number of online views their stories accrue and 51% are judged by their employers on the number of unique viewers.
The findings are part of the global 2013 Oriella Digital Journalism Study which found 40% of Australian and New Zealand media have swapped to a ‘digital first’ focus.
The shift in focus is higher in Australia and NZ, globally the average is 32%.
Embracing a digital first approach has improved the quality of news according to 49% of local journalists but the shift hasn’t been as positive for the hacks themselves.
More than 31% of local journalists from the 550 surveyed globally have experienced a reduction in editorial staff and 39% have seen revenues fall.
The majority (54%) of ANZ journalists believe readers should pay for quality online content, with journalists’ performance now, at least in part, measured on helping to attract or retain revenue.
The digital shift has put pressure on journalists to create more content (49%) and 31% have noticed an increased focus on analysis and 33% have noted more demand for exclusives.
Journalists are using social media for newsgathering but 57% only use information from Twitter or Facebook when the source is known. That figure drops to 39% for unknown sources.
Technology experts are the most trusted sources (80%) followed by academics (70%) while only 20% put faith in analysts. Least trusted sources were marketers, PR practitioners and politicians.
Tony Blackie, chairman of Blackie McDonald – the agency which released the report – said: “Respondents were keenly aware of the challenges created by a digital transition. Professionally, however, they were very enthusiastic about reaching new and bigger audiences with an increasing range of tools.”
“The next 12 months may well be a defining period for journalism in Australia and New Zealand, as the media organisations bed in their digital offerings and refine their go to market strategies.”
The study surveyed 550 journalists in April and May this year from 14 countries including Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the UK and US.