October 18, 2018

Feel sorry for newspaper employees
but not newspaper owners and corporations

With a number of mid-sized daily papers having recently engaged in further whacks, and even large-sized dailies engaging in some trims, the distinction in the header is important.

Newspaper employees — writers, editors, photographers, op-eds people, graphic designers, even those ads people — deserve sympathy for being in a struggling industry, even as people say they want news, and even as the industry, after a decade or more of early blunders, still tries to find the best way to make money.

But, do NOT feel sorry for owners and companies, at least not anywhere above the smallest mom-and-pop level.

As long as newspaper companies continue to buy newspapers from other newspaper companies, they're obviously profitable enough to not deserve a lot of sympathy.

As long as newspaper companies trim staff while saying they're profitable even before the cuts, they don't deserve sympathy.

This is even more true for larger newspaper companies that are still privately owned, and therefore don't have to (and usually won't) disclose just how profitable they are.

Here in Texas, I'm looking at you, Hearst. (Per Brains in comments, Nancy Barnes has bailed. And also per him, the sympathy for employees focuses on editorial staff, of course.)

And, per my comment, nobody watches videos more than 3-4 minutes long of news stuff unless hugely compelling.


PDiddie said...

You saw the Chronic's top editor, Nancy Barnes, just parachuted out for NPR, yes?

I believe (just spit-balling) that's related to the stress of the unrelenting layoffs, also replacing experienced personnel who are bailing with college grads, etc. It's hard to manage news-gathering when the news-gatherers are constantly turning over.

Hearst has at least five times as many business managers over the heads of editors and publishers as they had when I was there in the '80's and '90's. No excuse for that at all.

Gadfly said...

I had seen that, and need to link it in. I don't doubt what you said otherwise. Bean-counters, followed by IT people, and of course, all the "multimedia" people because of newspapers getting punked by Facebook's lies about video metrics, and newspaper publishers and bean-counters and IT people now refusing to admit they got punked.

I'm still trying to get out!!!!