The Path To Media Failure
Posted on 12.04.09 by Danny Glover @ 12:59 am

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:

[W]hat bothers me the most is what my firing represented. See, I’ve been learning all the tricks that a modern multi-platform journalist is supposed to know. In the past 22 months, I’ve blogged, tweeted, shot photos and videos, and handled speaking engagements. I edited my section, managed my high-personality staff and then in my spare time, I wrote cover stories — something that very few other editors at USA Today do. I hustled and I cajoled, and I ended up out on my a** anyway.

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.

Filed under: Advertising and Blogging and Business and Media and Technology


  1. Hi. Thanks for quoting my blog post. Just wanted to point out that I’m a she! :)

    Comment by ChrisAroundTheWorld — December 4, 2009 @ 1:25 am

  2. [...] Speaking of a legacy media in its dotage, Danny Glover explores, “The Path To Media Failure.” Filed under: Bobos In Paradise, Liberal Fascism, Oh, That Liberal Media!, The Assault On [...]

    Pingback by Ed Driscoll » Brian And Katie, The Hockey Stick Is In Your Court — December 4, 2009 @ 3:42 am

  3. [...] on 12.19.09 by Danny Glover @ 12:57 pm Here is the latest installment in a seemingly endless series of personal stories about the troubles of the profession I love — and hate to see struggling: [...]

    Pingback by The Enlightened Redneck » The Journalism Depression — December 19, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

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