Who Will Gather the News? Newsroom Cuts in Philly, Frisco and New York

Is this foreshadowing of what awaits newsrooms in Virginia?

Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Inquirer and Daily News, has announced plans to cut newsroom staffs by about 100 positions, or 16 percent, through buyouts or layoffs, blaming revenues and circulations. Meanwhile, the New York Times will cut 500 jobs, or about four percent of its work force, coming on top of 200 slashed earlier this year; another 160 jobs will be cut from the Boston Globe and related operations, including 35 newsroom jobs. And the San Francisco Chronicle, has bought out 90 employees.

Undoubtedly some of these job cuts reflect productivity gains, particularly in printing, administration and newspaper delivery. But, as I’ve argued before, news gathering is a labor-intensive business — journalism jobs can’t be automated any more than legal or medical jobs. We’re witnessing a real retrenchment in the news gathering apparatus.

This represents a great opportunity for blogs — but only if we can find a business model that actually generates revenue!


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Comments

  1. Barnie Day Avatar

    Opportunity, maybe, but a sad thing too, in that this format, this delivery system that mirrors, indeed, that reflects the bottomless dumbing-down of our culture, will remain to great newspapers what Bill O’Reilly is to the memory of Eric Sevareid, what microwaves are to brick ovens, what grape-flavored El Producto blunts are to Cuban Montecristos–pale, translucent pretenders.

  2. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    There is no way to replace The Great Metropolitan Newspaper (or even the minor metropolitan newspaper we used to work for.) When some future Gibbon writes of the death of this civilization, he will not view the rise of blogs as a substitute. (And please tell me Barnie is making up the bit about grape-flavored El Productos.)

  3. Salt Lick Avatar

    Jim:

    Maybe you’re already familiar with blogNashville, which happened last April. Here’s an excerpt from blogfather Glenn Reynolds piece on the conference– “…there’s still plenty of politics and amateurism, people are now talking about making money.

    In fact, the two recurring themes of this latest conference were making money, and video.”

    Reynolds also links to a “web-based newspaper, community forum, and classified advertising site that also hosts TV commercials… With a bit of tweaking, this could be a local-paper killer.”

    As Reynolds would say, Read the whole thing.”

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