With apologies to the Beatles, I heard the news today, oh boy. The news about news was rather sad. In two weeks, according to a tally by Business Insider, over 2,100 journalists lost their jobs at BuzzFeed, Gannett, parent of the Courier Journal, HuffPost, Vice Media, as well as McClatchy, which owns the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The brutal start to 2019 for journalism is enough to give any battle-hardened media professional pause, but how about you, dear reader?
The implications of the stunning number of jobs lost for local and national media are profound and far-reaching. Perhaps, this is the wake-up call America needed to understand once and for all that the demise of the Fourth Estate strikes a blow to democracy.
In his recent call to arms, “Why the Latest Layoffs Are Devastating to Democracy,” Farhad Manjoo, an opinion columnist for The New York Times, wrote, “Coming in a time of economic prosperity, at world-historical levels of interest in the news, last week’s cuts tell a story of impending slow-motion doom — and a democratic emergency in the making, with no end in sight.”
Love ’em or hate them, journalists do yeoman’s work when it comes to keeping public officials accountable, of making sense of the dribs and drabs of headlines that populate your social feeds, of bringing transparency to government, connecting dots among the influencers, and reporting on business and industry.
Insider Louisville is not immune to the vagaries of industry currents, and yet, we have good news to share. We are retaining our newsroom at its current size but not without making substantial sacrifices. Three senior leaders are stepping down as we realign the organization to ensure responsible stewardship.
To be sure, this is a contrarian bet and flies in the face of industry trends, but we feel strongly that the way forward is to achieve broad-based community support as a nonprofit news organization. Indeed, doubling down on our journalists – with your help – is a model we believe other local nonprofit news organizations across the nation could follow.
As we communicated recently, “This isn’t easy,” but we are committed to fostering deep engagement with our audience, to enhance our product offerings and to deliver the most essential news and analysis each day. We need supporters at all levels to join us in the foxhole.