SF Mcglone · Uncategorized

Journalism: Or, how I learned to worry even more and stay ambivalent

doctor strangelove

I was pissed at Gannett, but now I’m having second thoughts.

Based on my experience in the world up to this point, it is my impression that big companies’ downfall is their greed. That’s why I assumed Gannett had to lay-off and pay-out so many reporters, many of whom were well established and respected.

I also blamed it on the ugliest websites to have ever been mass-produced into existence. But that’s not important right now.

Based off this article from the Columbia Journalism Review and a couple other reads, it looks like I’ve misjudged a gentle giant who just couldn’t convince people to pay for a public service (what else is new). That, on top of not-savvy business moves, did not bode well for the ill-fated Pulitzer sweatshop.

As you can see, despite doing some sympathetic reading, I have mixed feelings about it.

I never liked that the same people owned newspapers across the United States. And now they’re all walking toward the gallows on a road paved with good intentions.

I really do hope they pull through, because if they can’t, as the article I cited talks about, local journalism is toast and that has massive consequences.

It’s called the fourth estate for a reason, and that reason is accountability. I’ve reported on stories from places without a local news outlet and been shocked by what’s going on there.

Once, I did a story on the mayor of a town, who owned most of the town, screwing over anyone who earned less than him in order to line his own pockets. I only found out about it because it was a slow news day in Detroit, and I was searching for area-ruckus on Twitter.

Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Buzzfeed.

I thought Buzzfeed was the Messiah; I really did.

But instead of generations of prosperity, we got seven years and a neverending string of lay-off-announcement-tweets that broke my heart. Even Chris Evans was affected. (R.I.P., ThristAidKit).

Obviously, there are silver-linings to all of these layoffs (more room for younger reporters to get in), but while they might be good for me in the short term, it speaks volumes about a way bigger problem in our economy.

Work harder, for less, for longer. (Until you get laid off with zero warning and have to fight for your paid time off.)

It’s not just the journalism field that’s affected by this, but it is the field that I care about the most and, I think, has the biggest global consequences if it implodes altogether. My hope is that after these layoffs, they do restructure the company into something more profitable that can withstand hard times and fund a necessary good. 

But between then and now, what happens?

Who will be the veteran watchdog when people are cycled out for newer, cheaper blood? There are a million more examples, but I don’t have the time or energy to list them all.

With the news of these cuts, including those at HuffPo, Vice, and Yahoo, in favor of spending money on more profitable ventures like dry memes and finding new teens to work for free, I am reminded of the SNL skit where Mark Ruffalo tries to convince his newsroom to care about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, but they’re too busy with “more important things,” like writing about cat videos.

Whatever. Back to Twitter.

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