Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites   No comments
Articles

Downsizing the News Staff; Downsizing Quality and Credibility

By       Message Walter Brasch     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

storycon.org Headlined to H2 12/6/15

Author 93

Originally Published on OpEdNews


From flickr.com/photos/14277117@N03/3865517102/: Double Octuple Newspaper Press
Double Octuple Newspaper Press
(Image by perpetualplum)
  Permission   DMCA

by Walter Brasch

 

(Part 1 of 2)

On Monday, Nov. 2, every National Geographic staffer was told to report to the magazine's Washington, D.C., headquarters the next day to await a phone call or e-mail from Human Resources.

Ever since Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox corporation bought the magazine in September, there were rumors the new owner would maximize profits by terminating employees. Those predictions came through when Management fired 180 people, and told dozens of others they were being offered "voluntary buy-outs." The corporation also announced it was eliminating health coverage for future retirees and was freezing all pensions. Management told the public there would be no loss of quality, but it's hard to believe those claims when the same management sliced photo editors, designers, writers, and several fact-checkers from the payroll.

The same day Murdoch terminated 9 percent of his staff, the owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News fired 46 journalists, leaving only one copyeditor at the Daily News. A month earlier, the Los Angeles Times cut about 10 percent of its news room staff. The Chicago Sun-Times fired all its 28 photographers, including one who won the Pulitzer Prize, and is relying upon lower-paid freelancers and wire services.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, plans to cut one-fifth of its news staff. Beginning in 2012, executive management in Cleveland reduced the newspaper from a daily to three times a week and fired staffers at that time. The Times--Picayune isn't the only newspaper to have downsized its newsroom and reduced frequency. Among metro dailies that are now printed only three or four days a week are the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, the Seattle-Post-Intelligencer, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Syracuse Advance-Standard, and the Harrisburg Patriot-News. The Times-Picayune, Plain-Dealer, Advance-Standard, and the Patriot-News, all owned by Newhouse Newspapers, slashed their newsroom staff before reducing the frequency. Executive management had claimed there would be no loss of quality; Management was wrong.

During the past three decades, the number of daily newspapers declined from 1,730 in 1981 to 1,331 last year, with almost 100 newspapers ceasing publication just in the past three years.

During the past decade, newspaper owners, seeking to squeeze every dollar of profit they could, terminated about 22,000 employees, almost a 40 percent cut from the peak of 55,000 in 2006. Last year, management cut 3,800 positions, according to the American Society of News Editors. Although some of those laid off were marginally productive and skilled, most were experienced journalists who set standards for distinguished reporting and writing.

The remaining field reporters are now required not only to find the story, report it, and then write it, they now have to film it, using either a small hand-held camera or their cell phone, write it for the print edition, and then rewrite it for the web edition, updating the story for the web as often as necessary. Because of the need to fill the newspaper columns and web bandspace, while increasing the workload because of layoffs, in-depth and investigative journalism, which requires not just resources but time, has become nearly non-existent.

The major news magazines, including TIME and Newsweek, have sliced their news staffs. However, the trend to downsize to maintain or increase profits hasn't been as severe in the magazine industry compared to the newspaper industry. The reason is that most of the nation's 20,000 magazines already have few full-time editorial staff employees; freelance writers produce most of the stories.

The layoffs aren't confined to the print media. Almost all cable networks, from the Golf Channel to MTV, TV Land, Nickelodeon, Turner Broadcasting, and Disney's ESPN have cut or are planning to cut staff. Turner cut 1,500 jobs; ESPN announced last month it cut more than 300 employees, most of them producers and editors.

The major over-the-air network media have been reducing the number of reporters, writers, and producers since the early 1990s. Broadcast radio eliminated about 19 percent of its employee positions, down to 91,000 at the end of 2014 from 112,000 in 2002. "Rip-and-read" journalism--a DJ or other staffer taking news from a wire service and merely reading it--continued to replace local reporters reporting local stories. Even DJs have been eliminated in most stations, with technicians pushing buttons to bring in automated syndicated programs that have breaks for local commercials.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

View Ratings | Rate It

Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of Constitutional (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Top Content
in the Last 2 Days
(by Page Views)

Solutions Journalism and OpEdNews by Meryl Ann Butler (29)

The Fight To Save Journalism by Danny Schechter (15)

Storytelling and Reconciliation by Gifford Keen (12)

Writing For Life: Writing and Authoring by Kamala B. Sarup (8)

Snuggling Up to Celebrities Not Part of Journalism Training by Walter Brasch (8)

Emerging Archetypal Themes: The 60s, Peaceful Revolution & the Beatles by Cathy Pagano (7)

When Truth is Vilified or Ignored, Story is the Solution by Rob Kall (7)

The Worlds of Story-- so much bigger than books and movies by Rob Kall (6)

Getting to Know Best-Selling Author Jacquelyn Mitchard, Part 2 by Joan Brunwasser (6)

Emerging Archetypal Themes: Libra, Dangerous Beauty and The Art of Relationship by Cathy Pagano (6)

Producer/Director Jake Kornbluth Shares the Backstory of "Inequality for All" by Joan Brunwasser (6)

Tips on Investigative Journalism From the Most Honored US Journalists-- Barlett and Steele by Rob Kall (6)

National Short Story Month: Five Questions with Four Writers by Bill Wetzel (6)

The Death of Mainstream Media Journalism; a New Life on the Internet by michael payne (6)

Downsizing the News Staff; Downsizing Quality and Credibility by Walter Brasch (6)

Transcript: Arlene Goldbard, author, The Culture of Possibility: Art, Artists & The Future by Rob Kall (6)

Invisible Success, Civilizations that Die or Quit and Memes We Live By; Transcript of an Interview with Daniel Quinn by Rob Kall (6)

Rethinking Civilization-- Plunging Earth Into Sixth Extinction; Daniel Quinn Interview Transcript Part 2 by Rob Kall (6)

Tell Your Story Now! by Arlene Goldbard (6)

The Return of the Sacred Feminine: Sophia in Politics and Life by Meryl Ann Butler (6)

Emerging Archetypal Themes: The Scales of Libra and the Ancient Celts: Relationships for Grown-Ups. by Cathy Pagano (6)

Mallary Jean Tenore-- Writing With Hope-- Restorative Narratives by Rob Kall (6)

Emerging Archetypal Themes: The Hunger Games and the Hero with Heart by Cathy Pagano (5)

Talking about Apocalypse and Why the World Doesn't End: Interview Transcript Michael Meade by Rob Kall (5)

Re-writing an attacker's script -- getting in practice by George Lakey (5)

Go To Top 50 Most Popular