It turns out journalists really don’t like free enterprise. Or at least they don’t think they should have to deal with it because they are “Professional Journalists.” So called. Several industries in downturn. Journalists hurt the most. Or something. The Human Toll of the 2019 Media Apocalypse.
So journalism – which has been in a decline for sometime – continues in a decline in 2019. I won’t go so far as to say the tone of this article is “The sky is falling!” But that wouldn’t be far off.
2019 crystallized something media people have known to be true for a while: While digital media dries out in the wake of the VC funding boom of the 2010s, and the country’s regional newspapers are swallowed by corporate consolidation and hedge fund vultures, there is very little stability to be found anywhere
The coal industry was shut down by the decrees of the Obama administration and journalists cheered. Amazon puts businesses, large and small, out of business every month, and the media is either not interested or adopt the “What do you expect?” attitude. But threaten 3000 journalist jobs, and the world is ending. Oh, and there are others impacted, but they are not journalists, so who gives a damn?
All told, according to The Columbia Journalism Review, 3,385 journalists lost their jobs in the past 12 months. (Business Insider has estimated more than 7,800 jobs had been lost this year, which were tracked from a company and employee statements and interviews, news reports, and may include non-reporters and editors at these companies. CJR’s methodology includes only layoffs verified by their editors, and will be updated.)
Hey those other 4000 jobs weren’t journalists, so they don’t count. Or something.
Now while all of that is worthy of derision, the thing that caught my attention was the focus on the Youngstown, Ohio Vindicator. That was a 150 year old paper that closed down, because they couldn’t even find a buyer. It is presented here as a tragedy, and maybe it is, but consider that Youngstown has a population of less than 70,000, is 50 miles from Akron, and 75 from Cleveland. Add in the fact that 150 years ago, most people traveled on foot or by horse, though the news could travel either by rail or telegraph, it is hardly surprising that what made sense 100 years ago, might not hold up today. But then maybe it is a tragedy.
I live less than 40 miles from downtown Cincinnati, and I only read the news from there if something happens to have it show up in my feeds. I don’t pay taxes in Cincinnati, or Hamilton County. I have no say in the insanity they produce, so why bother? I did pay taxes in that county, long ago, but then they built a sports stadium, for one of the most losing teams in all of professional sports, which they are still paying for (at least I think they are). I don’t need the aggravation that comes with the bias of the Cincinnati Enquirer. They could go out of business tomorrow, and I would scarcely notice.
And of course the elephant in the room, that this article ignores, is the complete bias of Professional Journalism. I don’t know that Vindicator was liberal rag, but if it wasn’t I doubt that its passing would be lamented in this way.
Now all of this isn’t to say that we don’t need news media. We do. What we don’t need is what we have today, the propaganda arm of the Communist Party. But then maybe that is what we always had, and we just didn’t realize it.
If you want a look at what real journalism looks like, take a look at the work Juan Browne does at Blancliro. He doesn’t cover everything, but he has some of the best coverage of the California wildfires, and the PG&E bankruptcy, not to mention various stories about commercial aviation.