From CNN to the Washington Post, the American media is having a hard time. A series of outlets have announced the layoffs. Amid fears of an economic downturn this winter.
Vox Media, the owner of the Vox and The Verge websites, as well as the landmark New York magazine and its online platforms, announced Friday that it is laying off seven percent of its staff.
The news follows layoffs on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Buzzfeed and other outlets.
In a memo to staff on Friday, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff announced that “due to the difficult economic environment affecting our business and industry, we will eliminate approximately seven percent of our staff roles across departments.” of difficult decisions”.
The memo, which Vox Media confirmed to AFP, said affected employees would be notified within the next 15 minutes. This will mean around 130 of the group’s 1,900 staff will be laid off.
Meghan McCarron, an award-winning journalist who spent more than nine years at Eater, the Vox Media-owned food website, tweeted Friday that she was among those fired — while 37 weeks pregnant. were
“My partner and I are so excited to be parents,” McCarron posted. “I really can’t process the uncertainty we’re facing right now,” he added.
A Vox spokesman told AFP that he could not comment on specific cases, but that employees had been offered “competitive severance packages”, including additional severance pay for those For those “planning an upcoming parental leave.”
Journalists fired from other organizations in recent weeks have also taken to Twitter to express anger, frustration or gratitude to colleagues as they begin their job hunt.
“I’ll be figuring out my next move. I’m a data reporter but I also write and produce,” tweeted Emily Siegel, after five years as an investigative reporter at NBC. was abandoned. “I would love to continue doing this. My (direct messages) are open.”
‘under pressure for a long time’
While the media layoffs were not as dramatic as those at technology giants such as Microsoft and Google, which announced Friday that they were cutting another 12,000 jobs, they were the result of declining advertising revenue amid a gloomy economic climate. , said Chris Roche. School of Communications at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
“For many of them, they grow and expand in the hope that they will be able to expand their audience, either readers or viewers, to a certain level,” Roche told AFP. And that hasn’t happened and it’s not likely to happen given what’s going on in the economy.”
According to a 2021 study by the Pew Research Center, newsroom employment in the United States has seen a steady decline, falling from 114,000 to 85,000 journalists between 2008 and 2020, with local media particularly hard hit. Is.
The Writers Guild of America, East, said in a statement to AFP, “Journalism has been under pressure for a long time, and many companies think now is an opportune time to cut their labor costs – which Harming both journalists and journalism.” .
The union includes journalists from NBC and MSNBC. The two outlets, which declined AFP’s request for comment, have laid off about 75 employees, according to US media.
A similar announcement sparked alarm at The Washington Post, where CEO Fred Ryan warned last month that “numerous positions” would be cut in the coming weeks, adding that the layoffs “will harm our employee base.” A one-digit percentage” will be affected. 2,500 people. Hiring for other positions may continue, the paper said.
The Washington Post Magazine, the newspaper’s Sunday supplement that won two Pulitzer Prizes, was shuttered in December as part of what executive editor Sally Busby described in a memo as the paper’s “global and digital transformation.” what was
And Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubic announced to her staff on Friday that the company was up for sale.
‘Hard, Secular Decline’
In recent months, CNN has laid off several hundred workers, out of an estimated 4,000 total, according to US media. CNN would not confirm these figures to AFP.
The cuts come as the company restructures following a merger between Warner Media, which includes CNN and HBO Max, and Discovery. The merger resulted in the creation of the Warner Bros. Discovery Mega Group.
After the merger, CNN’s new parent company abruptly pulled the plug on CNN, the network’s $100 million streaming service.
Naveen Sarma, a senior media analyst with S&P Global Ratings, noted the “tremendous, secular decline” of traditional broadcast and cable television in the United States, leading to a dramatic decline in pay TV subscriptions.
“It’s a constant struggle to get all these companies to come in,” Sarma said.
Quinnipiac University’s Roush says the changes were particularly painful for smaller media.
“CNN, The Washington Post, they’re not going away, but a smaller company, they have bigger problems, because they’re just smaller and not established as a media brand,” he said.