ICYMI: The Future of American Journalism is Not Looking Bright

WASHINGTON, DC – This week in American journalism, dark days have not passed as more announcements drop of newsroom closures, mergers and the release of staggering, but familiar statistics of the decline of local print newspapers. This never-ending broken record of news buyouts, layoffs and shutdowns foretells the bleak future of the American press and all of us who rely on accurate and timely reporting. 

The City-Journal states it best: “community dies with darkness.” Informing the citizens, and checking the powerful is the crux of the daily print newspaper.  But the Pew Research Center released data showing that, in the past decade, the number of newsroom employees dropped by 47 percent. These troubling signs do not offer newspapers a promising future, but rather a slow demise unless the conversation is proactive and big tech is held accountable.

The digital media landscape, as stated in the Columbia Journalism Review, is on a rollercoaster, with a small number of media companies holding on to its readers. The future  of reporting cannot turn into a small circle of national newspapers covering the downfall of other outlets. But unless big tech lessens its stronghold on the digital media landscape — which will only happen if they are forced — it will be the only reporting left, with dwindling journalists and resources. Have you seen a decline in journalism or been personally affected by layoffs or cuts? Share your story here. 

Columbia Journalism Review’s story is excerpted below and available online in full here:

It’s not just individual magazines that are struggling: giants are feeling the pinch, too. On Monday, both Gannett and GateHouse, the biggest publishers in the country by circulation, reported deep revenue losses; the same day, the two companies announced that they will merge in a deal financed by private equity (at eye-watering interest rates). Gannett and GateHouse executives are betting that massive scale—the combined entity will publish one in six of America’s local newspapers—can keep them in the black, at least for a few more years…

Increasingly, the digital media landscape feels bifurcated. A small number of media companies are surviving or even thriving; those tend to have established brands with loyal readers who are prepared to hand over their money. (This week, The Guardian and The New York Times both reported growth in digital revenue; The Guardian, which previously suffered years of heavy losses, is a notable success story.) But everyone else is feeding off the scraps.