Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Death of Journalism Update

Oy, these journalism-is-dying updates have become over-ubiquitous on this blog, and yes I know that's a contradictory, if not redundant, oxymoronic phrase. But these are contradictory, redundant, oxymoronic times, aren't they, as well as good old fashioned moronic.

So much dramatic stuff of late that it's hard to know where to begin. Click on the links and bring your hankies.

Media Companies Cull 30,000 in Fight for Their Future
Read this and tell me if you think things aren't changing permanently:

Citing the effects of a recession that's prompting marketers to trim budgets and the number of media outlets they work with, media companies are shedding jobs at a furious rate. But the deep cuts they're making are as much about these conglomerates shedding their old media models as they are about the economy.

Viacom and NBC Universal swung the ax last week, eliminating 850 and 500 jobs, or 7% and 3% of their work forces, respectively. Add that to 600 job cuts at Time Inc., 1,500 at Yahoo, 1,800 at Gannett, hundreds at CBS's radio and local TV divisions, and incremental cuts just about everywhere else, and big media is getting a whole lot smaller.

How small? The media industries have shed more than 30,000 jobs in 2008, according to an Ad Age analysis of Department of Labor employment statistics and news reports. That's about 3.5% of the total media work force of 858,000. Since the bubble-inflated high-water mark in 2000, media has lost more than 200,000 jobs.

New York Times Eyes Asset Sales
Mind you, this is the company that is mortgaging its building. Anyway, a snippet of this story goes like this:
Advertising revenue fell sharply at the paper in November, dragged down by weaker spending in the entertainment, property and automotive advertising categories.

Executives said that assets were under review, but did not specify which were being targeted. When asked about potential buyers, Janet Robinson, chief executive, said the review was focused internally, but added: “We’re in contact with people in the community.”

Company-watchers have identified its New England newspapers – including the Boston Globe – and its 17 per cent stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

Newsweek Mulls Dramatic Drop in Circulation
Not that I'd ever question the efficacy of a weekly newsmagazine in this era, but:
Both sources say that the magazine is considering slashing up to 1.6 million copies from Newsweek’s current rate base of 2.6 million, which would put the magazine’s rate base at 1 million.

Troubled Tribune Co. Files for Bankruptcy
This was announced several days ago -- I'm behind on this one. I'd say "Poor Sam Zell," but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Recession fallout: US media in deep financial crisis
Here's some stuff at the bottom of the story. Clearly those who believe that arts journalism -- which, again, is never mentioned in this context -- is going to be fine, or saved by nonprofit models only, are just being delusional. At the most fundamental level, this is all just terrible for democracy.
Latest statistics released by Newspaper Association of America has disclosed that newspaper advertisement revenue in the third quarter of this year dropped by $2 billion; a record 18.1 percent decline. The online ad revenue too declined for the second quarter in a row, it said.

The USA Today had announced a cut in jobs in its newsroom a fortnight ago. So did The Chicago Tribune last week. Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, has announced that it will cut 10 percent of its workforce at the more than 80 newspapers run by it.

The 17-member Cox Newspapers chain has announced it is closing down its Washington bureau and would depend on news agencies now. Independently-run Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has lost 20 percent of its staff in the past 18 months. A majority of the US media has already shut down its foreign bureaus or cut costs drastically.

NBC might scale back hours, Zucker says
Written by my buddy at the Hollywood Reporter, Paul Gough. (Speaking of THR, I was so sad to learn that 19 people were laid off the other day. For more on that, click here.)

Newsday to eliminate 100 jobs, raise newsstand price

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