Quoted and noted: Deeeepressing

5 Apr

“The number of journalists working at U.S. newspapers today is at the lowest point since the American Society of News Editors began its annual newsroom census in 1978.” ~ Alan D. Mutter, Reflections of a Newsosaur

I mean, I knew this. Of course this is true. I look around my newsroom and marvel at all the faces I don’t see. It’s not because they’ve been laid off, in my case. (Our owner, bless her soul, hasn’t laid anyone off. The same can’t be true for other departments in this building, but I’m talking strictly in the newsroom.)

Instead, people are leaving voluntarily. They’re moving to be near family after spending less than a year in a job with no hope for raises or a promotion. They’re quitting with nothing full-time lined up, hoping to make it as freelance journalists, like the millions of other out-of-work journalists hoping to make it as freelance journalists. They’re leaving to focus on their other passions, lucky enough to have spouses to support them while they find something more full-filling.

And their desks sit empty, because these people leaving voluntarily are the reason we have had no layoffs. We just don’t replace the employees. So the folks left are picking up the slack, doing the work of a staff twice its size.

So really, it’s no wonder the number of journalists at U.S. papers today is lower than it was in 1978.

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3 Responses to “Quoted and noted: Deeeepressing”

  1. PhaseThreeOfLife April 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Another 20 or so senior reporters from my old paper just accepted an early retirement buyout. That’s probably at least the fourth round of buyouts that have happened since my time there (not to mention the 4 or 5 rounds of layoffs). It’s sad.

  2. Jeff Bonty April 6, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    As a fellow journalist and former co-worker of Jac’s, this is just somber news.

    I have said this recently, newspapers are not a business. That said, as a business and in this tough economy, the bottom line has been watched even more sharply.

    I have been through two downsizing building wide and it is hard to watch people you have worked with for a few years or many walk out the door the last time.

    But we trudge forward.

    Those left must continue to get the word out.

    A dumb-downed society is not what we need, especially in these times.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Jac.

    J-Bon

  3. Ally April 6, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    😦 There’s a lot going on these days that make me shake my head in wonderment of where the future is headed…

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