This week was absolutely heartbreaking to watch for news media. While employment statistics continued their ten-year improvement streak, several publications including Buzzfeed News and the Huffington Post initiated layoffs.
Paul Blest, Splinter:
The old excuses for why this keeps happening just won’t do anymore. People are still consuming news in large numbers. The right, which is reveling in the layoffs, has always hated journalism that doesn’t contort to its worldview, so the “people distrust the media” reason is bunk, too. We know what the real problem is: The unholy trinity of corporate greed and mismanagement, private equity bloodsuckers, and tech behemoths leeching ad money from news companies.
I’m skeptical of the phrasing of Blest’s last argument. I don’t think it’s so much that Google, et al., are leeching ad money so much as they have devalued advertising.
Whatever the case, today’s round of layoffs at Buzzfeed News was especially brutal. They fired enough great reporters and editors from key positions — the national desk and national security desk, in particular — to start a hard-hitting news organization of their own. I follow several Buzzfeed reporters on Twitter because of the blockbuster journalism that they’ve been producing for several years, and it’s hard to reconcile that with today’s layoffs. They are the paragon of success, except they somehow are not.