It was recently reported that thousands of people working in the media industry lost their jobs between 2014 and 2017, and it seems the hemorrhaging isn’t over yet. The corporate media industry has cratered over the past few years as media outlets struggle to find ways to compete. The fact that most people consume news online undoubtedly contributes, but there might be another important reason why so many media outlets have difficulty maintaining revenue.
Thousands of Media Jobs Lost
A report by Business Insider states that cuts over the past few years “represent a recent trend in media that has seen upstart companies and newspapers alike shrinking and disappearing.” The reductions came after an extensive series of buyouts and layoffs that affected many operations, including such companies as Vice Media, Buzzfeed, and Verizon.
Several major media outlets slashed their workforce, including:
- Buzzfeed: 200 jobs
- New Orleans Times-Picayune: 161 jobs
- CNN: 100 jobs
- Vice Media: 265 jobs
- Huffington Post: 800 jobs
These are only a few of the organizations that decimated staff. Last year, the Pew Research Center reported that one in four American newspapers trimmed the employee roster. Business Insider’s list included many others not mentioned here. Why is this happening?
What’s Happening to Media Jobs?
One reason newspapers and digital media outlets are losing financial viability is heavy competition for ads. Companies such as Google and Facebook, which market to consumers online, have cut into advertising revenues. In fact, newspapers lost 57% of their ad dollars between 2000 and 2018.
And many media outlets are losing viewers. Why? Some claim the prevalence of skewed and deceptive reporting. As its ratings dropped to a three-year low, CNN recently laid off scores of staff members. Gallup released a report in September that gives a clue as to why viewers are tuning out. The poll showed that trust in the news media has dropped to 41%, and only 13% of Americans expressed “a great deal” of confidence in the reporting of TV, newspapers, news sites, and radio. Only 28% stated that they trusted the media “a fair amount.”
While Democrats’ trust in the media remains higher than that of independents and conservatives, even liberals are beginning to distrust reportage. Polls over the past three years show similar findings.
It makes sense that the corporate media establishment has lost the trust of the American public based on biased reporting. In the past, the press reported fairly on the workings of the government and at least tried to conceal biases. But since the 2016 campaign, so many organizations have gone full Trump Derangement Syndrome in their reporting. However, it’s not just the bias; some companies like CNN often engage in brazenly false reporting designed to influence viewers.
People want to learn facts when they consume news stories; they are not asking to be persuaded to believe a particular ideology. Since the press has abdicated its role in this regard, it is natural that so many people are suspicious. Confronted with a such a magnitude of losses, will the media industry reconsider its approach any time soon?
Read more from Jeff Charles.