After blowing smoke about the condition of Biden’s economy, many news outlets are suffering losses.
On Thursday, close to 1,100 New York Times workers staged a strike, of sorts. The effort appears rather neutered considering it was only a 24-hour walkout, and the desperation was evident as they attempted to get readers to also join in by not consuming any Times content for the day. (Their position was further weakened as they realized the biggest challenge in this attempt was not concerning their work but in getting people to stop playing Wordle!)
This barely recognized quit-snit was possibly met with shrugs based on one of the core complaints from this block of journalist guild workers. They have been bargaining for wages that “keep up with inflation,” stipulating that they have been particularly impacted by this while working in New York. This is rather grating to see, as the press has been actively trying to sell the general public on the notion that our economy is not as bad as it is perceived, done in order to shield Joe Biden from responsibility.
These Times writers need to grasp that they are not in a position of bargaining power, given the overall economic malaise sweeping across the media sector currently. Management needs to only note how so many others are also going through similar downturns in revenue, and as a worker, it is tough to use a threat of leaving when opportunities elsewhere are drying up almost daily. Look over just how many news outlets are either cutting staff or have halted growth as a money-saving tactic:
- CNN enacts a bout of severe layoffs, as I recently detailed.
- After cutting its news division in March, Buzzfeed announced it is laying off another 12 percent of its workforce.
- Gannett recently initiated its third round of layoffs in the past six months.
- Vice News has been consistently laying off workers and is looking for a buyer.
- Morning Brew recently dispatched 15 percent of its editorial team.
- Outside Media had its second round of layoffs this year.
- The publisher of the Sunday newspaper insert Parade Magazine will cease print editions for the first time since 1941.
- John Heilman’s outlet The Recount is shuttering.
- Tech news outlet Protocol closed down.
The Washington Post is also going through its share of problems. Like Parade, it too will end its Sunday magazine, with Christmas Day bringing its final edition. To go along with this have been layoffs, as the outlet has been bleeding customers for a time. Now we can see just how stark the losses have been.
The Wall Street Journal has a report about a tech division inside of the Washington Post that is now being regarded as a bigger entity than previously envisioned. Dubbed “Arc XP,” this is a proprietary publishing platform the paper initially developed for advertising purposes. Over the decade it has existed, this program has expanded to also create apps and analytical tools, and the paper is starting to market the tech program to other businesses. Currently what is being explored is whether they want to spin off the tool as a separate company or sell it outright.
The motivation for this effort is nestled deeper in the Journal’s piece. We now can see just how harsh the past years have been for WaPo from the perspective of income.
The Post is on pace to generate around $600 million in revenue in 2022 and has over 2.5 million subscribers, down from three million in January 2021, the people said. The company isn’t expecting to make a profit this year, they said.
That is – stark. 500,000 readers have vaporized in the past two years. It underscores in hard numbers the kind of challenge being faced across the media spectrum. Now certainly, there are a number of factors leading to this type of audience flight. The economy looms, the advertising sector has been collapsing, and the widening diversification in media continues. But WaPo has also been exacerbating this demise. You do not lose half a million subscribers over that period if you are putting out enough quality to retain interest.
Consistently, this paper has been antagonistic to a sector of its audience. The national paper located within the nation’s capital has made it rather clear it harbors an animous towards Republicans/conservatives, so the motivation from that sector to continue funding the insults and attacks is diminished. Then you have the rather apparent antagonism towards journalism ethics.
This is the paper that has allowed Taylor Lorenz to run rampant this year. It is home to the laughably facts-averse fact-checker Glenn Kessler. It claims to have balanced editorial perspectives by retaining Democrats-in-conservative-clothing columnists Jennifer Rubin and Max Boot. It continues to pretend Philip Bump is a reasoned and cerebral source of commentary.
As the coming year promises to have the journalism sector resembling a civil war battlefield the day after a conflict, there is a glimmer of expectation they could eventually come around to a realization. Maybe those remaining warriors ensconced in the editorial cubical farms will get around to recognizing that our nation is actually facing some dire challenges after all.