Newsrooms all across America are celebrating this holiday season just like they did last year’s — by handing pink slips to loyal employees. Layoff news has become so common that it’s a wonder there is anyone left to report the actual news.
Sadly, the people who run the media show still seem clueless about how they arrived at this depressing point in journalism history. Given every opportunity to embrace emerging technologies to improve the news product, they not only resisted change but scoffed at bloggers and others who led the way. Now they are firing the very people within their own organizations who could help them right the media ship.
Here is one telling report from Chris Gray Faust, a long-time journalist who had the foresight to learn new skills but was still shown the door:
I’d like to think her story is the exception to the rule, but it’s not. Looking for places to cut, The New York Times is rethinking its commitment to blogs, which is strong evidence that the Old Gray Lady was never all that committed to them from the start.
Why would a struggling news organization lay off the innovators best prepared to help them transition into a technological world they clearly don’t understand? Or as MediaJobsDaily put it, “We don’t know why you’d take resources away from online, in the year 2009, but that’s the report.”
Faust at least appears to have learned her lesson. She’s going to invest her energy and talents in herself rather than a news industry determined to fail and destined to make more foolish mistakes, like running to the government for a bailout or implementing “business/news integration” that puts sales managers in charge of editors.
“These freelancers-slash-entrepreneurs are smart. They are nimble,” Faust said. “And now they are my role models, as I join their ranks. So to the managers who made this decision, in less than 140 characters I tell you: Good luck steering the Titanic. And thanks for the head start. Now I’m really going to run.’”
CORRECTION: As Faust noted in the comments, she’s a she. My apologies for the gender error, which I have fixed in the entry.
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