COVID-19 has ravaged American newsrooms – here’s why that matters
In The Conversation, Tow Fellow Damian Radcliffe writes about the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on journalism
Many newsrooms across the U.S. will be quieter places when journalists return to their workplace after the coronavirus lockdowns end.
COVID-19 has ripped through the industry. In the United States alone, over 36,000 journalists have lost their jobs, been furloughed or had their pay cut.
Analysis by Kristen Hare, a reporter at the journalism institute Poynter, shows that more than 200 newsrooms and media groups have been affected by lay-offs and other cost-saving measures, including mergers and reduced print runs. Local journalism has been hit particularly hard.
Even outlets seen as having a “good pandemic” have been adversely affected. Atlantic Media, for example, laid off 68 employees in May, equivalent to 17% of its staff, despite the publication adding 90,000 subscribers since March.
If the pandemic is, as some experts fear, an “extinction-level event,” and the mainstream media goes the way of the dinosaur, the consequences for democracy could be dire. It would dramatically reduce journalism’s ability to deliver on its core purposes: holding authority to account, informing and empowering audiences, and reflecting a community back to itself.
Keep reading in The Conversation.