John Stanton: “Google and Facebook have decimated the journalism industry. When we need it most, it's not there.”

The following is a statement from John Stanton, laid-off former D.C. Bureau Chief at Buzzfeed and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, in response to The Times-Picayune/Advocate’s announcement to implement pay cuts and furloughs at the newsroom:

“When our community needed them most, the journalists of  The Times-Picayune/Advocate’s heeded the call. They’ve been working long, hard hours covering the explosion of the Coronavirus in New Orleans, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the South. Which makes the news of a new round of pay cuts and furloughs at the paper all the more heartbreaking. Governor John Bel Edwards told Louisianans yesterday that the state has the highest rate of growth of coronavirus cases in the world, saying “there is no reason to believe that we won’t be the next Italy.” 

New Orleans already lost The Times-Picayune last year and now we see another Louisiana newsroom gutted in a time of crisis. Even as states shut down businesses around the country, news outlets are kept open because they provide an essential public service during this national emergency. But they can’t stay open if they can’t fund their operations.

The Coronavirus crisis only underscores what we’ve been trying to highlight here at the Save Journalism Project. Newsrooms are vital to our democracy and communities, but they are in danger. Google and Facebook have decimated the journalism industry and now when we need it most, it’s not there anymore.

It’s time for y’all to wake up, our newsrooms are depending on ya.”