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Layoffs and Buyouts at U.S. Newspapers in 2009
April 15, 2009 10:19 PM   Subscribe

Paper Cuts tracks U.S. newspaper layoffs and buyouts. Roughly 24,000 jobs lost in 2008-09. It includes all newspaper jobs, from editor to ad rep, reporter to marketing, copy editor to pressman, design to carrier, and anyone else who works for a newspaper. Mapped papers that have closed or stopped publishing a print edition.
posted by netbros (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not completely happy with layoffs and buyouts.
posted by tellurian at 12:21 AM on April 16, 2009


As a guy who reads the paper, I must concur: edition, as in edit. But that's what he meant, damn it.

Carry on Teacher.
posted by pracowity at 12:26 AM on April 16, 2009


I'm not lacking in support for anyone laid off in these times, but newspapers, especially their print sides, have been a dinosaur in the room for many years. Like travel agents or movie rental shops, it's always seemed to me that it was remarkable there were still so many left.

We don't need more newspapers. What we need is more actual journalists writing somewhere and being read somewhere. The medium doesn't matter.

Of course, this is why gov/corporate censorship of the internet, from traffic shaping to "emergency measures" is pretty scary long-term. If we hit a day when it becomes easier for the government to silence a man with a website than a man with a printing press, we're in trouble.

And.... that's a lot of digression for 3am.
posted by rokusan at 12:31 AM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


What we need is more actual journalists writing somewhere and being read somewhere.

And being paid for their work. People who aren't paid for writing (researching, editing, etc.) are just bloggers sitting at home in their underwear after work and recycling what actual journalists wrote.
posted by pracowity at 12:45 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


What we need is more actual journalists writing somewhere and being read somewhere.
And being paid for their work.


It's easy to be read by thousands and be broke, I guess, but it's pretty hard to be read by millions on the internet and not make money at it.

I mean unless you're posting at MeFi. Then the blue corporate overlords get all the ad revenue from your hard slaving work, of course. The investigative research budgets that go into these snarky comments are staggering. ;)

The snarky commenters? Also staggering.
posted by rokusan at 1:13 AM on April 16, 2009


As I walked out of a Wallgreen's the other day I was propositioned by a woman who wanted to sell me a subscription to the local Gannett/AP rag (they're setting booths up everywhere these days). Knowing what is going on with papers these days I felt guilt that followed me for hours when I told her "No".

I really don't want that paper around.
posted by sourwookie at 1:30 AM on April 16, 2009


They haven't shot Marmaduke yet, have they?
posted by bardic at 2:41 AM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


As someone who approves of this meme on this boring Thursday afternoon, carry on.
posted by the cydonian at 2:49 AM on April 16, 2009


No need to hassle netbros. What's a little homophonic activity between just us guys? Us men; us burly, sweaty, red-faced men.

Carry on, my wayward son.
posted by adipocere at 3:54 AM on April 16, 2009


Print newspapers' demise is about 15 years too late. Suprised the internet didn't have this effect much earlier.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:03 AM on April 16, 2009


You'd think that a site like this where you can see that 38 people were laid off in your home town two weeks ago would give the whole "Yeah newspapers need to die! Internet woo!" people a second's pause, but I guess not. One of the people that lost his job here is 58 years old and had been working on the presses since he was 18. Working at a newspaper is literally all he knows. Two of his adult kids and grandkids live with him because they lost their jobs earlier. I know that things change and it is unavoidable that normal people get ground up in the gears of history, but a little bit of respect for the human cost of progress might be nice.
posted by ND¢ at 5:06 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


pracowity: " just bloggers sitting at home in their underwear"

Not that you should necessarily care. But just to make sure you're aware... when you use this phrase, at least one reader will instantly dismiss everything you had to say.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:23 AM on April 16, 2009


ND¢: "...would give the whole "Yeah newspapers need to die! Internet woo!" people a second's pause... ."

Refresh your memory by looking up the coverage those newspapers gave Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech. Then get back to us about how sorry we should feel that newspapers are dying.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:39 AM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the point is more "When newspapers die people suffer and lose their jobs" than "print newspapers are the most amazing thing ever much better than the internet".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:21 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know that things change and it is unavoidable that normal people get ground up in the gears of history, but a little bit of respect for the human cost of progress might be nice.

And a pony.


I agree with you, actually...in spades...sigh...
posted by scratch at 7:32 AM on April 16, 2009


One of the people that lost his job here is 58 years old and had been working on the presses since he was 18. Working at a newspaper is literally all he knows. Two of his adult kids and grandkids live with him because they lost their jobs earlier.

So the guy has 40 years of experience? That means he should be able to find an analogous job easier than someone with less experience.

All he knows? As opposed to millions of kids graduating from high school and college, where they're expected to get jobs, and "all they know" is nothing applicable to working a job. The real world is a lot less regimented than school, you don't get constant feedback in the form of grades, and there's no such thing as "study and you'll ace the application and get the interview" in real life. If millions of kids can get jobs, this guy can, too.

The kids living with him absolutely sucks, but it's a compounded problem, and not really related to this issue.

Industries absolutely have to turn over, innovate, change. To refuse to do so is to be overtaken, as the American automobile industry was overtaken by foreign manufacturers. A lot of folks lost their jobs in Detroit, but there's plenty of need for skilled laborers. If not in Detroit, then in Ohio and Kentucky. If not in automobiles, then in trains or airplanes. If not in vehicles, then in other technologies.

It absolutely sucks to lose your job, but the key is to be flexible. Technology moves too fast, and nobody gets to work from 18-70 in the same job anymore. Most of us are lucky if we can stay in the same company for 5 years. We're all in the same boat though, losing our jobs, worrying about our futures. A 58-year-old should find it easier to find another job with his experience, not harder, than a 28-year-old, and doesn't really deserve more pity than anyone else. We keep getting in trouble for stereotyping the elderly as helpless, inactive, and set in their ways, but then these same traits get trotted out when we're supposed to have sympathy for them. This guy should be able to find a new job as easily as anyone else, which is to say, it's not that easy, but he doesn't deserve special sympathy.
posted by explosion at 7:33 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aha, now we have a thread of "carry on" jokes that make no sense anymore.

Damn humorless supercensors.
posted by rokusan at 7:33 AM on April 16, 2009


So the guy has 40 years of experience? That means he should be able to find an analogous job easier than someone with less experience.

Bunk. He'll be passed over as "too old" or whatever circumlocution they're using these days.
posted by scratch at 7:37 AM on April 16, 2009


I am not asking for anyone to change their mind about whether newspapers deserve to go the way of the horse and buggy and I'm not asking for special sympathy for the gentleman I described. I just think if you are going to discuss the benefit that it is responsible to consider the cost. The gentleman I described, along with 24,000 other people, are the cost.
posted by ND¢ at 7:59 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bunk. He'll be passed over as "too old" or whatever circumlocution they're using these days.
posted by scratch at 7:37 AM on April 16


Good pressmen are hard to find. I doubt it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:05 AM on April 16, 2009


The gentleman I described, along with 24,000 other people, are the cost.

They are not the cost, is what I'm saying. While the timing is especially bad due to the widespread economic downturn, in normal economic times, for one industry to be shrinking, it means others are growing. These people aren't boxed up and put aside in a bin while others are unwrapped and installed like machinery. These people are (or should be, if they've kept their skills sharp) those moving to the new industries, helping them expand, change, grow.

If anything, it's the journalists who'll have a hard time finding new jobs, because the Internet news sites don't like paying for content. Then again, they brought it on themselves with lax journalistic standards. The hard-working folks who work machines? Physical labor will always be needed. There's a certain amount of work that just can't be outsourced.
posted by explosion at 8:48 AM on April 16, 2009


: but newspapers, especially their print sides, have been a dinosaur in the room for many years

Bad analogy. Do you know how awesome it would be to have a frickin dinosaur in the room??
posted by jabberjaw at 9:18 AM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


just bloggers sitting at home in their underwear

Real journalists wear pants.
posted by ornate insect at 9:37 AM on April 16, 2009


"Refresh your memory by looking up the coverage those newspapers gave Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech. Then get back to us about how sorry we should feel that newspapers are dying."

Because some guy at a local paper in Pittsburgh writing about the city council meeting is responsible for that.

"If anything, it's the journalists who'll have a hard time finding new jobs, because the Internet news sites don't like paying for content. Then again, they brought it on themselves with lax journalistic standards. The hard-working folks who work machines? Physical labor will always be needed. There's a certain amount of work that just can't be outsourced."

What an ideal world. Compliant physical laborers, silent, with only the corporate newsletter to read or voice of the political shill to listen to. Lax journalistic standards? Yeah, those damn journalists buying out one small media company after another, in defiance of the law, just so they could ... er.... well, whatever, they suck.

C'mon, almost all media that reaches a large audiance in the U.S. is owned by corporations that put stockholder profit ahead of truth and everything else. That's why this is going on. Why all these people are being laid off.
Christ, I heard the same bullshit line about the auto workers - like they should have known better than to mass produce cars that weren't as good as foreign competitors.
Oh, those darn workers, screwing it all up for big business. Lousy journalists destroying the diversity in the media by putting it all into the hands of gigantic news conglomerates.
Viacom would love to run big exposes on Bear Sterns (even though they own them) but the journalists just want to sit on their asses and be lax.

Get a clue. Yeah, change in technology has something to do with all this. But mostly it's media concentration that saturates the market so every paper is the same bland bullshit. Everyone and their brother agrees it's the business model that's obsolete, the readers and viewers haven't gone anywhere really. They're just doing it differently.
And really - thank God. The revenue needs to go in a different direction. It's about time ten companies stopped having a lock on mass media.
Meanwhile, labor takes it in the ass like they always have because guys at the top making millions don't want to make a $1 less - so, hey, lay off 10 people so I can keep making payments on my boat.
The local community paper in my area is pamphlet thin. Think I like that? The Trib and the Sun Times can tell me what's going on in the city and nationally, I can read blogs for editorial, but what my city council is doing? No, I need a local paper.
And they tend to be the most stable. Of course, since they don't make much money, not much ad revenue, that's where the big conglomerates cut.
So I still get the Tribune to tell me how wonderful Kraft, and McDonalds, and Conoco Phillips and Quaker Oats are - but if I want to know how much we're spending on red light cameras I'm SOL unless I want to FOIA my village council.
Swell.
Hell, I'd love independent sources of info. I just don't think it's the guys writing the stories that are the problem. Weirdly, I think it might have something to do with the people making the profits and mergers. Just a thought.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:36 PM on April 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


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