On being tired of being repetitive

A few months ago I noted that media companies keep firing journalists when they should be firing their executives. That hasn’t changed. And it’s making me feel like a broken record, or whatever the digital media equivalent is.

I’m not saying I’m a lone voice in the wilderness, but by and large the media that covers the media is focused on institutions and models, rather than the people doing the work.

A few weeks ago The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, where I worked for two years, laid off nine people in the newsroom. I knew all of those laid off and respected their work greatly. And in the comments on the Romensko post people note that two other papers had layoffs on the same day.

There’s more that’s bothering me than the fact that I knew the people who were laid off, though. It’s the fact that it keeps happening despite the common sense notion that no business has ever cut its way to long-term success. All these cuts are doing—all the cuts that have happened in newsrooms across the nations have done—is move the reckoning back. In not very long we will be looking at an ever more homogeneous media landscape, controlled by a few large corporations, and it’s going to happen so gradually that it will be hard to stop.

But the people who are suffering the direct hit of losing their jobs aren’t the ones to blame. It’s the media executives who failed to grasp what the future meant for their companies, and who should be bearing the brunt of these cutbacks. But they aren’t. They stay in charge and talented journalists lose their jobs. That needs to change—the question is how.

 
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