Disney's ABC-TV chopped 400 positions, about 25 percent of its news division in 2010. CBS and NBC news divisions have also cut staff and coverage. On local TV stations, the downsizing is apparent with fewer stories of significance being aired, and with the declining quality of both reporting and writing. As is the case with radio, technology has reduced the need for technicians--as well as producers and editors. On some stories, a lone reporter is now forced to set up the camera, check audio and light levels, and interview the news source.
The social media have also begun downsizing, with Twitter laying off more than 300 of its 4,000 person workforce in October.
Owners blame the economy for their decisions to downsize. They blame loss of advertising. They blame the rise of digital media. They blame changing reading and viewing habits of the younger generation with a me-first egocentric attitude and a smart phone fused to their ear. They blame the lower ratings and declining income on the fragmentation of TV viewership because of the rise of hundreds of cable networks. They blame everyone and everything for their decisions. But, they seldom blame the real reason for the decline in circulation and ratings--their own incompetence.
(Monday: Causes and Solutions)
[In a four-decade career in journalism, Dr. Brasch has been a newspaper and magazine reporter and editor, multi-media writer-producer, advertising copywriter, and professor of mass communications. He is the author of 20 books, most of which fuse history and contemporary social issues; his most recent book is Fracking Pennsylvania. He is also the recipient of more than 200 journalism awards for excellence, including multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, National Federation of Press Women, Press Club of Southern California, AP, and the Pennsylvania Press Club.]