Laura Bassett Statement Regarding the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Print Publication Cuts
WASHINGTON, DC – According to the local union representative for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the newspaper is transitioning to a digital delivery of the newspaper. Beginning September 30, 2019, the print edition will only be delivered three days a week. This development is particularly concerning in the wake of the news that the Philadelphia Inquirer is imperiled.
As Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh President Mike Fuoco wrote, “This is a colossal mistake given the demographics of our subscribers, who are older and want nothing to do with digital…I fear this is the death knell for the paper where I have worked more than half my life.” And, as Joe Pass Sr., the attorney for several of the newspaper’s unions, explained to the Pittsburgh Current, “If they fulfill their purpose of going fully digital then every Teamster, pressman and mailer will lose their jobs and the number of newsroom employees will be significantly reduced.”
The following is a statement from Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost who was laid off in January and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, regarding the developments:
As Pennsylvania and the nation reeled in the devastating and confusing aftermath of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff was crucial in providing the latest developments and educating the entire public, online and in print.
While online conspiracists ran rampant, the Post-Gazette news staff was, and continues to be, the bedrock of sensible, well-informed coverage, assuaging fear and addressing concerns. This coverage simply would not have been possible without all of the newspaper’s talented staff.
With these cuts to the print publication, not only are the staff at risk, but the informed public is also at risk. Especially in times of chaos, we need a well-staffed newsroom and the mechanisms by which to keep people, of all ages, updated with factual developments. As Fuoco noted, the readership of the Post-Gazette is an older demographic, who rely on the print publication. But, big tech has squeezed revenue so much that it has made the costs of print unsustainable. And digital only is not faring much better.
Facebook, Google, and big tech have consumed the digital landscape and continue to threaten local journalism. We need our elected officials to weigh in, to reign in big tech, and to save the journalism industry, before this goes any further.