Paper Cuts: Web Site Map Chronicles Layoffs at Newspapers

Via Graphicdesignr.net/papercuts

Via Graphicdesignr.net/papercuts

The American Journalism Review considers the sheer number of working journalists who are losing their jobs as newspapers cut back left and right. It cites figures from the U.S. Department of Labor (the number of all newspaper jobs shrank from 336,000 at the start of the year to 313,600 through October) and notes efforts by graphic designer Erica Smith to keep her own tally at Graphicdesignr.net/papercuts:

“I started out because I was curious about the number of cuts. Now it’s because I have too many friends who’ve been laid off,” says Smith, 32, who got into the newspaper business right after graduating from Northwest Missouri State University.

Her tally, which she builds from news releases, wire reports, blogs and tips from colleagues, includes all newspaper jobs, not just those in the newsroom. But she estimates half of those 15,000 cuts were journalists. And that means the newsroom population of American papers shrank by about 15 percent last year, down from 52,000 at the start of the year.

The story goes on to consider life after working at newspaper, with former journalists taking jobs as substitute teachers, yoga instructors, private investigators and in media relations. You can read it here.

Meanwhile, the New York Times delves into one our deepest fears — government without newspapers to watch them. We’re “dangerously close” to that reality, according to an op-ed by David Swensen, the author of “Pioneering Portfolio Management,” and Michael Schmidt, a financial analyst at Yale:

American newspapers shoulder the burden of considerable indebtedness with little cash on hand, as their profit margins have diminished or disappeared. Readers turn increasingly to the Internet for information — even though the Internet has the potential to be, in the words of the chief executive of Google, Eric Schmidt, “a cesspool” of false information. If Jefferson was right that a well-informed citizenry is the foundation of our democracy, then newspapers must be saved.

What’s the solution? They suggest turning newspapers into “nonprofit, endowed institutions — like colleges and universities.”

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the link!

  2. […] piece comes on the heels of other op-eds (by people much smarter than me) who advocate a new nonprofit model for newspapers racked by […]

  3. […] year in journalism, and I think, really, that journalism is better for it. Yes, there’s been too many layoffs, pay cuts, buyouts. But I think the economic woes have forced news organizations to rethink how […]

  4. […] No longer a student and without a job, he will return to his home in Plainfield, N.J.  As jobs continue to be cut in the field of traditional journalism, he is […]

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