US Media Sees Massive Job Cuts Amid Newsroom Employment Decline

CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Buzzfeed and other outlets have also cut staff. (representation)

New York:

From CNN to the Washington Post, the US media is facing tough times as several publications announced layoffs this winter amid fears of an economic recession. Vox Media, which owns Vox and The Verge, as well as the landmark New York Magazine and its online platforms, announced on Friday that it was laying off seven percent of its staff.

The news follows layoffs at CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Buzzfeed and other outlets.

In a memo to staff Friday, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff announced “the difficult decision to eliminate approximately seven percent of our staff roles across departments due to the challenging economic environment affecting our business and industry.”

In a note confirmed to AFP by Vox Media, affected workers will be notified of layoffs within the next 15 minutes. That would mean about 130 of the group’s 1,900 employees.

Meghan McCarron, an award-winning journalist who spent more than nine years at Eater, a food website owned by Vox Media, said in a tweet Friday that she was among those fired when she was 37 weeks pregnant.

“My husband and I are so excited to be parents,” McCarron wrote. “I can’t really process the amount of uncertainty we’re dealing with right now,” he said.

A Vox spokeswoman told AFP that they could not comment on specific cases, but that workers had been offered “competitive severance packages”, including additional severance pay for those “planned near-term parental leave”.

Journalists who have been fired from other organizations in recent weeks have also taken to Twitter to express anger, confusion or gratitude to colleagues as they begin to look for new jobs.

“I’m going to figure out my next step. I’m a news reporter, and I also write and produce,” said Emily Siegel, who was released after five years as an investigative reporter at NBC. “I would like to continue this business. My (direct messages) are open.”

“Under pressure for a long time”

While the media cutbacks aren’t as dramatic as tech giants Microsoft and Google, which announced another 12,000 job cuts on Friday, it’s the result of declining advertising revenue amid a gloomy economic climate, Chris Roush said. School of Communication at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.

“A lot of them have grown and expanded with the hope that they can get their audience or readership or viewership to a certain level,” Roush told AFP. Considering what is happening in the economy, it is impossible for this to happen.”

Newsroom employment in the U.S. fell from 114,000 to 85,000 between 2008 and 2020, according to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center, hitting local media particularly hard.

“Journalism has been under pressure for a long time, and a number of companies believe this is an opportune time to cut labor costs to the detriment of both journalists and journalism,” the Writers Guild of America East said in a statement to AFP. .

The union includes journalists from NBC and MSNBC. The two agencies, which declined AFP’s request for comment, have said goodbye to about 75 employees, according to US media.

A similar announcement echoed the Washington Post, where CEO Fred Ryan warned last month that “a number of positions” would be cut in the coming weeks, adding that the layoffs would affect “a single-digit percentage of the workforce” for some employees. 2500 people. The newspaper writes that recruitment for other positions may continue.

The Washington Post Magazine, the two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper’s Sunday supplements, closed in December as part of what executive editor Sally Buzbee described in a memo as the paper’s “global and digital transformation.”

And Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuque announced to employees on Friday that the company is up for sale.

“Severe, Secular Decline”

According to US media, in recent months, CNN has fired several hundred people out of a total of about 4,000 employees. CNN would not confirm the figures to AFP.

The layoffs come as the company undergoes restructuring following the merger of Warner Media and Discovery, which includes CNN and HBO Max. Merger Warner Bros. Discovery resulted in the creation of a mega conglomerate.

After the merger, CNN’s new parent company abruptly cut the network’s $100 million broadcast service, CNN+.

Naveen Sarma, senior media analyst at S&P Global Ratings, noted the “steep, secular decline” of traditional broadcast and cable TV in the US, which has led to a sharp decline in pay-TV subscriptions.

“It’s an ongoing struggle to get all these companies on board,” Mr Sarma said.

Quinnipiac University’s Roush says the changes have been particularly painful for smaller media.

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

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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