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Wuhan coronavirus a possible “media extinction event”

Wuhan coronavirus a possible “media extinction event”

For now, we’re just doing what we do, watching the media carnage from afar. But we take no joy in the misfortunes of others, whether ‘journalists’ or others losing their jobs.

Given the pervasive distrust of media, particularly national mainstream media, news that the Wuhan coronavirus crisis is hitting news media hard may not garner a lot of sympanthy. But the hardest hit is at the local level, not the names you know and love/hate.

Buzzfeed says The Coronavirus Is A Media Extinction Event:

As the reporters, photographers, editors, and designers at the Seattle Times report on a community stricken with the coronavirus, their paper is also battling another serious threat. In just a few weeks, its local advertising business has all but disappeared….

“Virtually all entertainment advertising is gone, restaurants gone. Automobile advertising is starting to get impacted,” Alan Fisco, the president and CFO of the paper, told BuzzFeed News….

Alternative weeklies in the US and Canada have laid off staff and curtailed print editions. In the UK, the Time Out and Stylist magazines announced a temporary halt to print editions. So did a group of 19 local papers in Michigan, and one in Rhode Island. In New Orleans, the merged Times-Picayune and Advocate newspapers furloughed a 10th of their staff and have the rest working four day weeks. A newspaper in Vermont laid off 20 of its 42 staffers, and papers in West VirginiaCalifornia, and Florida also had layoffs. Even the New York Times warned in early March that its ad revenue would take a hit. On Monday, Digiday reported that 88% of legacy and digital publishers surveyed expect to miss their business targets this year.

Huffpo tells a similar story, The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Hammering Local Newspapers about the devastation at the local level, but notes it’s hitting national outlets as well:

It has hit the industry from top to bottom: The New York Times Co., citing  “‘uncertainty and anxiety’ caused by the coronavirus,” said it expected online ad revenue to fall by 10% in the first quarter. But the losses are particularly devastating for alt-weeklies, which heavily rely on advertising from local businesses, many of which are now temporarily closed.

Layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts have hit Washingtonian Magazine, the Military Times, and, across the border, one of Canada’s few remaining independent alt-weeklies. The Stranger, a Seattle-based newspaper, said this week that it would stop printing and laid off 18 staffers. In St. Louis, the Riverfront Times laid off most of its staff and temporarily suspended its print edition. The Portland Mercury joined them, laying off 10 staffers this week, while the Sacramento News & Review told readers it needed contributions to keep printing after advertising revenues dropped 50% in less than a week. The Advocate, Louisiana’s largest paper, has told staff to keep down expenses and avoid working overtime. The Reno News & Review, which shares a publisher with the Sacramento paper, announced that it will suspend operations indefinitely and lay off its entire staff after Thursday’s issue publishes.

Many of the papers said the changes were temporary. But there were also dire warnings about the future.

“It could be the end,” Jeff vonKaenel, the publisher of the News & Review papers in Sacramento, Reno and Chico, California, said in a statement posted on Twitter.

CNN, as CNN does best, wraps itself in self-importance, Hundreds of journalists are being laid off, right when the public needs them the most:

CNN Business reported on Sunday that at least 100 people in local newsrooms in the US lost their jobs in March. By Friday, that number shot up to at least 300 people as the impact of coronavirus continues to roil newspapers and digital media companies.

BuzzFeed avoided layoffs through salary reductions, but that strategy isn’t being implemented everywhere. Future PLC, which owns Laptop Mag, Tom’s Guide, Live Science and other publications, is planning to lay off at least nine employees out of 59 in the union, according to a statement from its union on Tuesday….

The sad twist about these layoffs and restructuring is that they come just as the public is hungry for information about the pandemic, but there are now fewer journalists to provide vital information about it. Traffic is up for many sites and TV ratings have increased as people are stuck at home watching the news.

Don’t cheer this pain. It will empower the largest corporate behemoths, the heart of the mainstream media, who are the most likely to survive and to take even more market share. The same goes for those with billionaire bankrollers, like the far-left The Intercept.

At Legal InsurrectionFoundation and website, we’re going to have to navigate this environment a little differently. We already run such a lean shop on such a frugal budget. We never lived big.

We are at risk, as are all non-profits, of a decline in donations as a result of the stock market decline and readers worried about or losing their jobs. It’s a little too early to tell how we will be impacted, but we did postpone what would have been a First Anniversary Fundraiser early this month as the timing coincided with the stock market crash. At some point when things calm down, we’ll reach out to readers, who have come through for us bigly in the past.

While our travel plans are on hold, we’re continuing to research behind the scenes, and I’m hopeful we’ll continue to push the envelope as we also cover the crazy news scene. We’re also looking into ways to bring us together with readers “virtually.”

But for now, we’re just doing what we do, watching the media carnage from afar. But we take no joy in the misfortunes of others, whether ‘journalists’ or actual working folk, losing their jobs.

[Featured Image: Legal Insurrection reader reception, February 2020, Los Angeles]


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The Seattle Times is loving to hate on Trump right now.

They won’t report on the absolute failure Inslee is. The state’s Employment Security office is basically shut down right now. No phone, no email.

Talk about totally unprepared. They have ZERO information about the federal disaster declaration, ZERO preparation about the stimulus money.

They are hiring- but did anyone tell this dipshit he has the power to move employees from other agencies in to help. You know that ones he’s sent home. … or perhaps the teachers I’m paying to stay at home?

Not a word from local media questioning him.

The msm is garbage.
Our politicians, for the most part, are garbage.
Many laws, policies and regulations the politicians foisted upon us are garbage.

I hope people will use this experience as an opportunity to burn it all down so we can start over with a clean slate.

“But we take no joy in the misfortunes of others, whether ‘journalists’ or others losing their jobs.”

Well actually, I *DO* take joy in “journalists” losing their jobs. I really do. I guess I must not be one of those “compassionate conservatives” Bush talked about.

rabid wombat | March 27, 2020 at 7:34 pm

A news organization that reported “who, what, when, where, and how” probably could make money. Likewise, one that openly stated, “I am east of your worst nightmare”….

To stand in front of me and cast yourself as “objective”, you lie.

Die on your hill

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | March 27, 2020 at 7:37 pm

Many – from life long experience – know their local media
is totally vile and corrupt as the national media.

Looking for honest “journalists” or “reporters” is the mission of Lot to try and find honest men in Sodom and Gomorrah…..

Wait a moment, aren’t this the same people that created the panic to try to destroy the economy? So they didn’t think about this well enough apparently…

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Ulises. | March 27, 2020 at 7:49 pm



    Yes….they did…….

    And they’re still trying to do that.

    (In my best Jack Benny accent)

    CorkyAgain in reply to Ulises. | March 27, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    As I said in a previous thread re this topic here on LI, they’re just gonna have to suck it up and take one for the team.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to Ulises. | March 28, 2020 at 10:50 am

    This reminds me of a story about people and alligators and how they want the alligators to eat the people they don’t like, not realizing that sooner or later the alligators will be eating them. Something about “hoping the alligators eat you last…”

    But I might be wrong… Its happened before.

Karma can be such a bitch. Would be, has been journos can always find productive work as lumpers or maybe census takers.

One beautiful fallout from the government response to a virus has been to show just how unimportant physical “education” facilities really are.

Close down the propaganda units, aka public schools, and save billions on grotesque plant and property expenditures.

As to local newspapers or media mongers, welcome to the real world of competition. A competitive free market offers choices and rewards those who bring value to the market place.

Let’s just see how well the leftist trope sells when it is not subsidized by a newspaper or magazine that used to be the only source in town.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to NotKennedy. | March 27, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Hear Hear!!!!!!

    To all your points.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to NotKennedy. | March 27, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Back in 2012, the NYT was calling for newspaper bailouts and a U.S. dictatorship in every editorial
    I accidentally clicked on – at least a dozen or so……

    healthguyfsu in reply to NotKennedy. | March 27, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    They’ve shown quite the opposite, actually. Most families, particularly in the lower middle class, are not set up to tend to their children’s educational needs in a home school environment. Some lack the intellectual capacity but most lack the time with their own jobs and other responsibilities. The family unit is sadly not what it once was.

    rocky71 in reply to NotKennedy. | March 27, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Or they could learn to code…

The media gins up a mass hysteria over a virus that is turning out to be not much more than the average flu in orderto get Trump and as always the Trump Curse hurts them more.

The Friendly Grizzly | March 27, 2020 at 8:08 pm

Most local newspapers only parrot what the associated press and the New York Times bureaux send them.

If any of these newspapers had local reporters, And if some of the bigger paper still had their own bureaus overseas, they might survive. But, alas, they don’t.

    The Seattle Times has reporters for local news, but they do use syndicated feeds for national and world news.

    I don’t think their leftward ideological slant hurts them in this market, so I don’t think you can blame their troubles on that. I think it’s just that they, like everyone else in their business, have yet to figure out how to survive in the Internet age.

      LibraryGryffon in reply to CorkyAgain. | March 27, 2020 at 10:23 pm

      Lefty in Seattle would be an advantage. Remember this is the county where they kept recounting until they pushed Gregoire past the finish line, and no one seems to have questioned that the total number of votes cast was noticeably higher than the number of registered voters.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | March 27, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Same goes for the loco TV affiliates.

    I think there are a lot of lazy journalists who just work at rewr9ting stories they get from the AP. When you listen to the media reports, or read the articles written, it is like you are hearing just one voice using multiple takes off the same script.

    Many on air reports use nearly the same words, whichever buzz word the DNC dictated to them being used to echo Il Duce Pelosi or Chuckles Schumer.

    The media in general has become a sham. And people are slowly waking up to it.

McClatchy the second largest newspaper chain in the country has been in bankruptcy for the last month or so. They did not end up bankrupt because they wrote high quality professional stories.

And, NO, I don’t GAS that these people are losing their jobs. They have been trying to destroy this country for the last 50 years, so screw them.

Von Kaenel lost a huge chunk of ad revenue after California legalized weed.

The old medical marijuana system was a cash boon. Doctors selling medical marijuana cards and legal distribution stores – all buying ads in his weekly papers. Very competetive business. I’m talking five or six pages of ads devoted to the sham doctor prescription services and pot sellers.

Then it all collapsed.

pass the popcorn! i love this part of the movie…

healthguyfsu | March 27, 2020 at 8:51 pm

Local media in my area are totally biased garbage…

learn to code

The local newspapers should have sold they dailies in rolls. They could have increased their subscription rates 1-2 weeks ago when everyone was hoarding toilet paper.

Cancelled the Houston Comical in the 80’s. Their business model back then appeared to be keep delivering to keep the ‘subscription’ list high. They didn’t stop until I called and said I was reporting them to our city manager for public littering.

    B Buchanan in reply to Max17. | March 28, 2020 at 1:49 am

    The San Jose Mercury News must be following that business model you described Max. I have called to cancel my subscription 3 times to no avail. The last time they said they couldn’t help me because my name doesn’t appear as a subscriber. Still get the paper, every morning.

And no one is asking about Twitter, Facebook, and Google that have “you are the product” ad serving.
Who is paying for the ads? That was the major source of revenue (most things lose money)

We have two local papers in my area that are now owned by the same company, The Quad City Times and The Dispatch. They both spew the same the same articles. It’s too bad that they don’t try an experiment where one paper continues to spew the same old garbage, and the other hard hitting journalistic no political/social slant. I am certain their would be a difference in sub rates between the two and only one would end up surviving.

“But we take no joy in the misfortunes of others, whether ‘journalists’ or others losing their jobs…”

Have to STRONGLY disagree. These ‘journalists’ are seditionists. Their work is not honest work, but the result of being paid with dirty money. Many of them belong in prison. (Sedition is a crime, after all.)

Their ‘misfortune’ is akin to a kiddie-porn dealer losing his or her business.

Make professional news people follow standard procedures for their stories. If they don’t then they are civilly liable.

Most of what you read today as news is just repackaged press releases. You can often go to the source and find the information in some bland form, the local writers doctor it up with whatever spin either they or their employer wants.
The media will often edit out important information that does fit the narrative.

My local paper was bought up by the detroit free press and went liberal.
My county votes repub by something like 56% to 38%.
Let them die.
Plus they keep tossing advertising supplements on our driveways every Saturday despite many calls to stop.
I do hope they go bankrupt and the employees find out we’ve run out of money for unemployment.
As for the big conglomerates buying up local papers, they were failures to begin with or the offered money was too big to refuse. In any case if they were relevant they’d have made money and stayed open. Jump on the woke bandwagon and go broke.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | March 27, 2020 at 10:15 pm

Got to admire Ace of Spades forthrightness – expressing what many are thinking even if they would not say it.

“Everything is about the Wuhan Flu, and I’m sick of the damn flu. I’m sick of the MSM sucking off the commies, and I’m sick of what seems more and more of a monumental overreaction to the actual threat. Since last Sunday, I’ve been keeping track of the number of deaths in the US. Not cases – anyone with half a brain realizes that as testing ramped up, the number of cases would too – deaths. Here are the numbers, taken roughly every 12 hours since last Sunday at noon: 402, 417, 473, 521, 592, 746, 849, 1042, 1046, 1296, and 1301 at noon today. As of this writing, the number is 1581 (all data from CSSE at JHU). It’s obviously a serious situation, but serious enough to justify throwing our economy into a blender (and then increasing out national debt by 10% in one stroke because “the economy is in a blender!” ) in a nation that murders 2500 babies a day in service of a woman’s constitutional right to fuck her brains out as much as she wants without any chance of consequences? I’m having a real hard time seeing how the numbers justify the response, Jack, a real hard time, and it’s starting to piss me off. I doubt I’m the only one.” – Ace of Spades

Here is a perfect example of gross under reporting.
There are some 8 million people that use a CPAP machine to assist their breathing and sleeping every night in this country. I wondered if an existing CPAP could be used an ventilator in an emergency with no modification or minimal modification. I did a Google search on it and discovered that yesterday the FDA did indeed approve CPAP machines as an authorized use.
This should bring 1000’s of inventory to the market immediately and at a relatively low price compared to a normal ventilator. There are also a large number of people who have machines and don’t use them anymore.
This should be publicized to anyone who is concerned about the ventilator inventory.

    ronk in reply to buck61. | March 27, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    that show how self centered the professors are, I would be will to bet most parents know that already, they just don’t have the choices they would like, and don’t have the ability to home school.

In other words, all their nasty chickens are finally coming home to roost.

Just print the news on toilet paper. Problem solved.

Barry Soetoro | March 27, 2020 at 11:10 pm

I’ll rejoice whenever a corrupt journalist loses his job.

Chicago Tribune currently being controlled by hedge fund. Leftist run crap rag soon to downsize. Never see anything remotely positive about POTUS in the editorials.
Also I love it when they claim that journalism will die with their demise. So funny.

Close The Fed | March 28, 2020 at 12:43 am

This is a very interesting topic. I have to agree with a lot of the posters, that a big part of the reason newspapers are not doing well, is because they slant left.

If y’all will remember, Trump said or wrote somewhere, the politicians will accept contributions, but what they really care about is what the newspaper says about them. In my experience that is true.

Newspapers also have an outsized influence on what politicians think are important and what the public finds culturally interesting.

For a multitude of reasons such as these, I have been thinking about starting a newspaper. And I’m not joking.

Bill Gates did a brilliant job building Microsoft, and running it. But, his politics are lame. A knee-jerk liberal.

Now he’s an ersatz Surgeon General.

It just shows you: you can be brilliant at one thing, but a fool at everything else.

If gates was a general, he’d be Lloyd Fredendall, compared to PDJT being an amazing combination of Eisenhower and Patton.

Lloyd Fredendall: The General Who Failed at the Kasserine Pass:

And the MSM wonder why Trump was not eager to shut the country down and is eager to get it restarted.

Dear Professor Jacobson:

I respect the heck out of your words but I attempted for the past 5 minutes as I am reading this article to garner a small amount of sympathy for the plight of these “newspapers”

I am afraid, I was unable to do so.

I , rather, am experiencing schadenfreude to the maximum

Frezz in the hizzy | March 28, 2020 at 6:50 am

People these days are getting information from other quality internet sources, among those, Legal Insurrection. Thank you Rush form starting this new alternative in the early 90s.

One of the direct results of this is that a shocking number of “mainstream democrats” would undoubtedly censure “dangerous right-wing propugnada sites” in the name of the public good.

Of course, it has already started. It is clear that this is where the battle lines will be more and more stark over time. The thought-police angle against media opposition will be the natural progression as the liberal media organism desperately clings to life.

I guess they too need a bailout. If this doesn’t end really soon, we will be collapsing into the arms of socialism. Is “temporarily” suspending our first amendment rights worth it? Is this the lesser of two evils? Perfection being the enemy of the good? Or maybe “If even one life was saved, it was worth it”?

I believe they will play numbers games for months convincing us that the numbers are only far below what was predicted only because we surrendered our freedoms “temporarily” but we need to “stay the course” or it will reignite again.

At some point soon, we will have to push back hard at losing our freedoms. At least a little grumbling?
But are we capable of even talking about that? What ever happened to “molon labe”? We aren’t as tough as we think.

Standing Athwart History: The Political Thought of William F. Buckley Jr.

“Conservatives in America are non-licensed nonconformists and this is a dangerous business in a Liberal world.”

“I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will use my power as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. Such a program is enough to keep conservatism busy, and Liberals at bay. And the nation free.”

“Conservatism, we are told, is out of date. The charge is preposterous, and we ought boldly to say no. The laws of God, and of nature, have no deadline. The principles on which the conservative political position is based…are derived from the nature of man, and from the truths that God has revealed about His creation.”

So what William F. Buckley meant is simply that conservatives are those willing to defy the Liberal juggernaut, to say “No” when it’s politically incorrect to do so.

Yeah, those were the days when words like that had meaning. Today, we are too polite to even think them for ourselves. We might be collapsing into the arms of socialism without a fight but at least we were nice about it.

    Katy L. Stamper in reply to Pasadena Phil. | March 28, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Well, I’m not too polite to say something. Probably Tuesday or Wednesday,, I will be contacting various Georgia elected officials that I believe the better course is to open things up and have our older people isolate themselves and all of us wear masks.

    I have a couple of the N 95 mask‘s left over from some home projects but they’re uncomfortable so I am going to make some masks out of some fabric I have this weekend that will be more comfortable.

    And when I go out I’m going to wear them but I will be going out.

    I heard one good tip on mask-making: make the inside of the mask a different color than the outside so that you know which part has been directly exposed.

      Masking can be very effective against the spread of COVID. The problem is that society is going about using masks backwards.

      So far, it appears that the main vector for spread of the COVID virus is through particulate or aerosol means. This is essentially the virus hitching a ride on liquid droplets expelled by the infected person. These droplets, while exceptionally small, can be trapped by a properly constructed surgical mask.

      Now, in order for the mask, which is being worn by an individual, to protect that individual, it must be tightly form fitting. And, as the virus can conceivably enter via any through tear ducts, as well, the eyes have to be protected in the same way. So, for an individual to protect him or herself, from infection, using a mask is not going to work very well.

      However, rather than ordering people to leave their businesses and be incarcerated in their homes, it would be much simpler to provide inexpensive cloth surgical masks to the population and require that they be worn in public. A multi-layer cloth mask will trap most of the particulates and, if periodically washed and sprayed with a disinfectant effective against some viruses before each use outside the home, will kill most of the infectious viruses. If this is combined with sequestering members of the extremely at-risk population, such as nursing home patients, it should all but stop the spread of the virus.

      How to obtain such masks? Make them. Call up Mike Lindell. Have him stop making pillows for awhile. He can cut up some of his Giza Sheets and sew the fabric into multi-layer masks, which could be sold very cheaply [a couple of dollars], especially if a government subsidy were involved. This simple suggestion would allow the economy to chug right along, while still protecting people. And, an order requiring protective equipment, such as masks, would be a whole lot more constitutional than incarcerating healthy people in their homes. It is interesting that none of our brilliant medical professionals have suggested that, isn’t it?

        CorkyAgain in reply to Mac45. | March 28, 2020 at 2:15 pm

        Surgical masks won’t prevent you from getting the virus, but they will help prevent you from spreading it to others.

        The Japanese wear masks when they themselves are sick, because they feel a social obligation not to infect others. It’s an ethos we should adopt here in the USA.

          That may be the answer Rush is looking for to explain why CA isn’t ground zero on Wuhan Flu infections. We have a large Asian population here and travel back and forth to China by the Chinese is robust.

          I’ve observed when passing by the lines waiting outside food stores that the majority of those wearing masks are Asian. Maybe we should be more respectful about that. It isn’t that they are protecting themselves from us but not knowing who is infected, including themselves, they are mostly protecting everyone else.

          I hope Rush reads your comment.

The interesting thing is the comparison between the current MSM and the current virus. The virus essentially kills its host in an attempt to survive. The media wants to kill Trump, but if he’s not there, they will not survive. Imagine four years of trying to make a living covering Biden without being critical of him? MSNBC, CNN, WAPO, NYT will all die because no one cares.

Since I am sheltered in place and can’t escape, I will probably drown in all the tears I am shedding for the Seattle Times.

BierceAmbrose | March 28, 2020 at 7:20 pm

Don’t get my hopes up.

Besides, they’re like cockroaches — nothing kills them.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.