While America’s workforce returned from their Labor Day vacations last week, veteran reporters at the mainstream media giant, USA Today, were getting pink slips.
This latest round of layoffs at USA Today struck at senior reporters – including Edna Gundersen, the pop music critic of 30 years.
Scott Bowles, a 17-year veteran of USA Today, told The New York Times that he’s been “amazed by the names and reputations of some of the people on the list; these are bigwigs. Big names.”
Jeremy Gaines, the spokesman for Gannett (the publisher of USA Today), was circumspect…
“USA Today is working to align its staffing levels to meet current market conditions,” Gaines said. “The actions taken today will allow USA Today to reinvest in the business to ensure the continued success of its digital transformation.”
Shareholders are tired of continuing to subsidize the high salaries of these big name journalists that nobody reads anymore.
Indeed, this acts as further evidence that a massive shift in journalism is taking place in the media industry.
Welcome to the 21st Century
Joseph Schumpeter is the Austrian economist who first came up with the concept of “creative destruction.”
In this book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, he wrote that “any existing structures and all the conditions of doing business are always in a process of change. Every situation is being upset before it has had time to work itself out. Economic progress, in a capitalist society, means turmoil.”
Well, he could have been prophesying the current situation in mainstream media.
Here’s a tough truth that the media industry is dealing with right now…
Only old people – really old people – still read their news on newsprint, watch the nightly TV news, and listen to news and talk radio.
When I was 25, the idea that legacy news operations would be shrinking was unimaginable. The daily newspaper was the primary source of news. Local radio and TV journalists used the pages of the local newspaper to know what news to cover. They read it, their bosses read it, and you couldn’t ignore it.
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These legacy newspapers had power and prestige.
The Washington Post was so powerful that it ended Nixon’s presidency and forced his resignation.
CBS News and other network news programs’ reporting on Vietnam was so powerful that Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election in 1968, only four years after he had scored a victory, which was unprecedented in scope during his 1964 landslide.
Fast forward to today, and news is considered old after it’s been online for 12 hours. It has cycled on and off the digital news engines of today before it can even get to the pressroom for printing.
And while TV news has a shorter cycle, the younger generations are too busy to be bothered to watch TV on a schedule. They watch shows on Netflix and Amazon on their own schedules.
Heck, Americans are now more likely to get their news from a friend on Facebook than they are to read it on a modern and technically proficient website.
As a result, today’s journalist is recognized by the number of clicks, shares and comments he or she generates.
If you don’t deliver page views, you’re unemployed.
This is great for conservative ideas. They didn’t really exist when the mainstream media dominated the landscape. They were cloistered away in ghettos of small, but influential, alternative and independent publications.
Today, the alternative media reigns as an equal in the battle of ideas.
That’s great news for Wall Street Daily, since we certainly picked up many of the readers USA Today has lost.
Welcome to the revolution.
Your eyes on the Hill,