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US media rocked by layoffs amid economic gloom

NEW YORK: From CNN to The Washington Post, US media are facing tough times. A series of news outlets announced layoffs this winter amid fears of a sluggish economy.

Vox Media, owner of the Vox and The Verge websites, Landmark New York Magazine and its online platform, announced Friday (January 20) that it would lay off 7% of its staff.

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

In a memo to staff on Friday, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said, “Due to the challenging economic environment impacting our business and industry, there are approximately seven staff roles across the division. announced the difficult decision to eliminate 10%.

The affected employees will be notified that they will be terminated within the next 15 minutes, according to a memo confirmed to AFP by Vox Media. means

Meghan McCarron, an award-winning journalist who has spent more than nine years at Vox Media-owned food website Eater, tweeted on Friday that she was one of those who were laid off while she was 37 weeks pregnant. bottom.

“My partner and I are so excited about becoming parents,” McCarron posted. added.

A Vox spokeswoman told AFP that she could not comment on specific cases, but said employees were offered a “competitive retirement package” and that “parental leave is planned for the near future.” employees will be provided with additional retirement benefits.

Journalists who have been laid off by other organizations in recent weeks have also taken to Twitter to express their anger, disappointment or gratitude to their colleagues while they start looking for new jobs.

Emily Siegel, who was fired as an investigative reporter for NBC after five years, tweeted: “Considering my next move. I’m a data reporter, but I also write and produce.” She said, “I want to keep this job. My (direct message) is public.”

‘Long time pressure’

Media layoffs weren’t nearly as dramatic as stalwart tech giants such as Microsoft and Google announced more than 12,000 job cuts, but they were a result of lower advertising revenues in a dark economic climate, Chris said. Dean Roush said. Department of Communication, Quinnipiac University, Connecticut.

“Many of them grew and expanded on the expectation that they could increase their audience, or readers or audiences, to a certain level,” Roush told AFP. given that it is unlikely to happen. ”

A 2021 study by the Pew Research Center found that newsroom employment has been steadily declining in the United States, dropping from 114,000 to 85,000 journalists between 2008 and 2020, with local The media have been hit particularly hard.

“Journalism has been under pressure for a long time, and many companies seem to think that now is the perfect time to cut labor costs, which is hurting both journalists and journalism,” East said. told AFP. .

The union is made up of journalists from NBC and MSNBC. His two outlets, which declined AFP’s request for comment, said goodbye to about 75 employees, according to US media.

Similar announcements have also been dreaded by The Washington Post, where CEO Fred Ryan warned last month that “many positions” would be cut in the coming weeks and layoffs for some “employee bases in the single digits.” It will affect the proportion of 2,500 people. The newspaper said it could continue to recruit for other positions.

The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post magazine closed in December as part of what editor-in-chief Sally Busby described in a memo as the paper’s “global and digital transformation.”

Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuck also announced to staff on Friday that the company is for sale.

‘Abrupt long-term decline’

In recent months, CNN has laid off an estimated hundreds of employees, out of a total of about 4,000 employees, according to US media. CNN has not confirmed these figures to AFP.

The job cuts come amid restructuring following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, which includes CNN and HBO Max. The merger created the Warner Bros. Discovery Mega Conglomerate.

After the merger, CNN’s new parent company abruptly pulled out of the network’s US$100 million streaming service, CNN+.

Naveen Sarma, senior media analyst at S&P Global Ratings, said the “rapid secular decline” of traditional broadcast and cable TV in the US has led to a dramatic decline in pay-TV subscribers. Did.

“This is a constant and ongoing struggle for all these companies to get in,” Salma said.

Quinnipiac University’s Roush said the change was particularly painful for smaller media outlets.

“CNN, the Washington Post, they’re not going away, but they’re small companies and they have bigger problems because they’re just small and unestablished media brands.

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