News companies have either laid off, furloughed, or reduced the pay of over 28,000 worker, as ad revenue collapses.
Life as we know it will likely change once the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic ends. Traditional media has been in trouble for a while, but the pandemic might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Professor Jacobson highlighted the troubles barreling towards the media a few weeks ago. But as he said, the ones that would likely suffer the most are local media outlets, not the ones in the despised mainstream media.
Now those troubles have hit the media.
People snark at trickle-down economics, making it seem like it’s just a fantasy drawn up by conservatives.
Want proof? Look at most local media outlets.
People have turned to the news more than ever since the beginning of the pandemic. But it’s not viewership or subscriptions that pay the bills.
The media outlets get their profits from advertisements.
Unfortunately, many businesses have shut down due to the pandemic, so the owners do not have money to pay for advertisements:
News companies have either laid off, furloughed, or reduced the pay of over 28,000 workers. The New York Times noted the pandemic caused “weeklies like Seven Days in Burlington, VT., and Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain,” to shutdown:
Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, The Detroit Free Press and more than 250 other daily newspapers, has ordered the majority of its 24,000 employees to take five days off per month without pay in April, May and June, staff memos revealed, and executives will take a 25 percent pay cut. Paul Bascobert, the chief executive, said he would not take his salary until the crisis was over. The NewsGuild, which represents journalists at several Gannett papers, criticized the plan. “Our nation simply cannot afford to furlough or lay off journalists and other news industry employees in this time of crisis,” said the union’s president, Jon Schleuss.
BuzzFeed “cut salaries in April and May for all U.S. employees making more than $40,000,” while those at the top of the food chain will see their salaries reduced by 25 percent.
Then there’s Lee Enterprises and McClatchy:
With more than 70 papers, including The Buffalo News and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this national chain has instituted pay cuts and furloughs for its employees, according to a staff memo from Kevin Mowbray, the chief executive. Executives have taken a 20 percent pay cut. Lee Enterprises got bigger in January, when it bought 31 newspapers for $140 million from Berkshire Hathaway, whose chief executive, Warren Buffett, called the newspaper business “toast” last year.
In February, before coronavirus cases rose sharply in the United States, McClatchy, whose dailies include The Kansas City Star, The Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee, filed for bankruptcy. On Thursday, the chief executive Craig Forman said the decline in ads required a “leave of absence” for about 120 non-newsroom employees — or less than five percent of the work force, according to a spokeswoman. In addition, the company laid off four executives, and Mr. Forman will take a 50 percent pay cut.
Tribune Publishing hits me hard since I’m from Chicago and still subscribe to The Chicago Tribune:
The publicly traded company behind The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and The New York Daily News said on Thursday that it would permanently cut the salaries of those making more than $67,000 by 2 percent to 10 percent. The company will also offer an undisclosed number of buyouts, and employees have until April 17 to decide. The Tribune Publishing chief executive Terry Jimenez said he would not take his salary for two weeks. Other executives will also take pay cuts. Tribune Publishing, whose largest stakeholder is Alden Global Capital, did not reply to a request for comment.
Newspapers have received some life support from online subscriptions.
I see people on social media encourage others to subscribe to local newspapers or wherever they work.
The thing is, no one should pay for a product if they do not want it or do not view it as a valuable asset. Don’t buy a subscription just because. Put out a decent product, and people will eat it up.
This sucks. But we’ve seen print die little by little for a long time. Egon Spangler foreshadowed it in Ghostbusters when he said, “Print is dead.”
Okay, I know that is a movie, but it’s still weird.
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