Spanish journalists have a low level of associationism. There are professional associations at the national and, above all, regional level, but with few exceptions, they have a small number of members.
There are two types of journalists organisations: professional bodies and associations. The professional bodies are corporations regulated by law, which determines the rights and duties of professionals, as well as a particularly controversial issue: The requirements for membership of the professional group. Meanwhile, associations are simple meetings of professionals in order to defend their rights. In Spain, the regulation of professional bodies is the responsibility of the autonomous regions and only some of the 17 regions have a professional body of journalists: Andalusia, Castile and León, Catalonia, Galicia, La Rioja, Region of Murcia and the Basque Country. In some other regions, there are more or less advanced initiatives to form them.
Meanwhile, professional associations are grouped around the Federación de Asociaciones de Periodistas (Federation of Journalists Associations - FAPE), the main professional organisation of journalists in Spain. It has 49 federated associations and 16 linked associations, representing a total of more than 21,000 associates. Federated associations are organised according to provenance, either regionally or provincially, while associates do so mainly by thematic specialisation (e.g. health, sports and parliamentary information).
In recent years, the main concern of the journalists’ bodies and associations has been the deterioration of the working conditions. Although the unemployment recorded among journalists in 2016 fell by 9.1 percent (7,890 people) from the previous year, it was still 74 percent higher than in 2008, when the economic crisis began, as recorded in the APM 2016. However -fortunately-, in 2016 the labour market offered good news for the third year running. When it comes to gender, the number of unemployed women journalists (5,029) is much higher than that of men (2,861). However, unemployment has declined more among women.
For more than half of the journalists, the main problems were unemployment and job insecurity, followed by low pay for their work, according to the Informe Anual de la Profesión Periodística 2016 (Annual Review on the Journalistic Profession - APM, 2016). The monthly salaries were mainly in the range of €1,000 to €3,000, with generally lower salaries among the self-employed, especially photographers and camera operators. In fact, among those who receive salaries of less than €1,000, the percentage of self-employed practically quadruples that of hired workers.