The Save Journalism Project’s Laura Bassett tells CNN: “We’re reaching a point of no return”
WASHINGTON, DC – Despite the economy opening back up and the country entering a new phase of the pandemic, the media industry still faces severe instability as four notable organizations have made recent announcements of layoffs and closings. Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost who was laid off in January 2019, and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project, spoke with CNN about what these layoffs mean for the future of the industry and how we need to hone in on the culprit of its demise — Big Tech.
The article is excerpted below and can be read in full here:
For years, the media industry has been forced to compete with tech platforms for advertising revenue and consumers’ time. Now, in addition to those same pressures, publishers will see increased competition for attention as the economy opens back up.
Last March, media owners reacted to the economic fallout of the pandemic with furloughs, layoffs and other cost-cutting measures. This March, as the world enters the next phase of the pandemic, four notable brands made major announcements that signified more instability in the industry.
“The amount of data large platform companies collect and control enables them to offer far more efficient advertising than any publisher, and the business of making online content profitable is rigged against anyone who wants to run even a sparsely resourced newsroom with experienced reporters,” Bell wrote in that 2019 Guardian piece.
Laura Bassett was a part of HuffPost’s 2019 layoffs and cofounded the Save Journalism Project shortly thereafter to call attention to the Big Tech’s “monopolistic” power.
“We’re reaching a point of no return,” Bassett told CNN Business in reference to the recent wave of layoffs. “There needs to a bigger, louder conversation and more public support behind holding Google and Facebook accountable and figuring out how to prop up journalism as an essential public service.”
Kaplan said he sees media industry as facing an “inexorable decline” that was partially offset — for some outlets — for a year when people were more reliant on news or simply bored at home during the pandemic.
“In 2019, [the industry] was going in that direction, down, down, down. Really, it got a year reprieve,” Kaplan said. “You can’t run against the curve. You can’t push against the tsunami that’s coming toward you.”