Recently, Canada has seen a sudden sharp rise in layoffs of traditional media personnel, layoffs that had probably been humanely put off as long as possible.
The huge local media company Rogers Media is to cut its workforce by 4%, affecting 200 TV, radio, publishing and admin jobs. Rogers cites changing consumer habits, leading to declining ad revenue.
The iconic Toronto Star (Superman’s “Daily Planet”) has just laid off 300, La Presse (francophone) 158, and Bell Media 370. In Canadian terms, those are big numbers in the former media elite, and there are many others, less heralded.
Things are similar in the United States:
There remain only two print newspapers in the entire country (the Wall Street Journal and New York Times) that sell more than a half million copies per average weekday, only six that sell a quarter of a million copies and probably [correction: not many more than] 22 that sell more than 100,000.
And in Britain,
The Guardian will cut costs by 20 percent, and could make some of its journalism available only to paying members, after a sharp fall in print advertising hit the newspaper’s financial performance.
The sharp fall in advertising is principally due to the fact that most people are not getting their information from print media any more. Also, it is difficult to charge for information on the internet, for the same reasons as it is difficult to charge for seawater in the ocean. More.
Reality check: Newsroom layoffs don’t mean that those people have gone away. They have gone to work for government or a big corporation.
See also: Can new media fill the info gap in Mexico’s drug wars? New media may help in the long run for a structural reason: They feature no “gatekeeper” role such as held by the veteran journalist quoted above, who felt she had failed.
But they are not “news giants” any more And, as we struggle to explain, we are constantly tripped up by confusing terminology.