Taken together with cuts the paper made last year as well as cuts made at Time Magazine, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated, journalists sounded the alarm that journalism is not dying; it is, in fact, dead.
As NPR reported, these layoffs, and in some cases, the outright shuttering of publications altogether, are happening at an accelerated rate because owners of publications are focused on profitability. At the Times, the layoffs are particularly concerning because, as The Guardian reported, the cuts primarily affected writers of color.
The statement reads, in part, “It also means the company has reneged on its promises to diversify its ranks since young journalists of color have been disproportionately affected. The Black, AAPI, and Latino Caucuses have suffered devastating losses. Voluntary buyouts could have helped prevent this but that’s not the path the company chose. A buyout process required by our Guild contract could still help offset these cuts.”
The statement also blames the paper’s management for trying to force journalists into agreeing to a deal without the ability to read it first.
“In his public comments, The Times’ owner has sought to shift the blame for these layoffs away from himself and onto the union. We wholeheartedly reject that. For one, it is the company that chose to lay people off, not the Guild. Secondly, management wanted the Guild to agree to extreme layoff terms that it was unwilling to share on the record—essentially asking journalists to sign a deal without telling them what was in that deal. Third, as part of this secretive deal, the company attempted to pit young journalists of color against more senior employees and gut seniority in the process. We didn’t—and won’t—stand for that.”
What does the state of journalism looks like anymore? These media layoffs these past 2 years have felt especially bleak. We talk about media literacy being dead, well, yeah, cause the media is dead and the actual journalist are being let go. https://t.co/rSeEoSjlVs— Caroline Renard (@carolinerenard_) January 17, 2024
As Hernandez explained, “We’ve all seen many of these leaders not only stay but get promoted — and in some cases be the authors of the memos announcing newsroom cuts. Everyone needs to roll up their sleeves to produce and fund journalism. If making money off journalism is your job, deliver or step aside. If they aren’t held accountable, the wrong people will be laid off again.”
In the same round-up, Amethyst J. Davis, the Founder of the Harvey World Herald, calls out funding efforts for the Black press, particularly those of Press Forward, who have been criticized for a lack of equity in its fundraising by the National Association of Black Journalists and others. “What’s required of philanthropy in this moment — American newspapers dying out, this country deep-sliding into fascism, journalists killed at alarming rates overseas — extends beyond giving money,” Davis says.
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Source: Black Enterprise