Massive job cuts in the US media due to falling newsroom employment | Business Upturn

Massive job cuts in the US media due to falling newsroom employment

Vox Media, the parent company of the Vox and the iconic New York Magazine, announced the layoff of 7% of its workforce.


From CNN to the Washington Post, the US media is in trouble, with a slew of layoffs announced this winter amid worries of an economic collapse. Vox Media, which owns the Vox and The Verge websites as well as the iconic New York Magazine and its online platforms, said on Friday that it was laying off 7% of its workforce.

The revelation comes on the heels of layoffs at CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Buzzfeed, and other sites.

Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff made “the tough choice to reduce around 7% of our staff jobs across departments owing to the severe economic environment impacting our business and industry” in an email to employees on Friday.

The message, authenticated to AFP by Vox Media, stated that the impacted workers would be told of their dismissal within the next 15 minutes. That equates to 130 of the group’s 1,900 employees.

Meghan McCarron, an award-winning writer who worked for Eater, a Vox Media food website, for more than nine years, tweeted Friday that she was among those laid off—while 37 weeks pregnant.

“My partner and I are so excited to become parents,” McCarron posted. “I can’t really process the amount of uncertainty we’re now facing,” she added.

A Vox spokesman told AFP that they couldn’t comment on particular situations but that staff were given “competitive severance packages,” including additional severance pay for those who had “near-term future maternity leave scheduled.”

Journalists who have been let go from other organisations in recent weeks have also gone to Twitter to express their rage, dismay, or appreciation to their coworkers while looking for new opportunities.

“I’ll be figuring out my next move.” “I’m a data reporter, but I also write and produce,” tweeted Emily Siegel, who was let go after five years as an investigative reporter at NBC. “I’d love to keep doing this work. “My direct messages are open.”

Under pressure for a long time

While the layoffs in the media were not as dramatic as those at tech behemoths such as Microsoft and Google, which announced Friday that it would cut 12,000 more jobs, they were the result of falling advertising revenue amid a bleak economic climate, according to Chris Roush, dean of the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

“For a lot of them, they grew and expanded on the expectation that they were going to be able to grow their audience, either readers or viewers, to a certain level,” Roush told AFP. “And that just hasn’t happened and is unlikely to happen given what’s happening in the economy.”

According to 2021 Pew Research Center research, newsroom employment in the United States fell from 114,000 to 85,000 journalists between 2008 and 2020, with local media being particularly badly impacted.

“Journalism has been under pressure for a long time, and a number of companies seem to think this is an opportune time to reduce their labour costs, hurting both journalists and journalism,” the Writers Guild of America, East, said in a statement to AFP.

The union includes NBC and MSNBC journalists. According to US media reports, the two publications, which denied an AFP request for comment, said goodbye to 75 staff members.

A similar announcement is feared at the Washington Post, where CEO Fred Ryan warned last month that “a number of roles” will be eliminated in the coming weeks, adding that the layoffs would touch “a single-digit fraction of our employment base” of around 2,500 employees. The article stated that hiring for other posts might continue.

The Washington Post Magazine, the paper’s Sunday supplement that won two Pulitzer Prizes, was closed down in December as part of the paper’s “global and digital transition,” as executive editor Sally Buzbee characterised it in a message.

On Friday, Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc informed her employees that the company is for sale.

Steep, secular decline

CNN has laid off an estimated several hundred staff out of a total of 4,000 personnel in recent months, according to US media. CNN declined to confirm the data with AFP.

The layoffs occurred when the corporation restructured following a merger between Warner Media, which owns CNN and HBO Max, and Discovery. The merger resulted in the formation of the Warner Bros. Discovery mega conglomerate.

CNN’s new parent company quickly terminated the network’s $100 million streaming service, CNN+, following the merger.

Senior media analyst at S&P Global Rating Naveen Sarma saw a “steep, secular decline” in traditional broadcast and cable TV in the US, which led to a big drop in paid TV subscriptions.

“That’s a constant, ongoing struggle for all these companies to come in,” said Mr. Sarma.

According to Quinnipiac University’s Roush, the reforms were especially onerous for smaller media outlets.

“CNN, Washington Post, those are not going away, but as a smaller company, they have bigger issues because they’re just smaller and not as well established as a media brand,” he said.