If there's one sector of the economy that's in bust times it's the news media. And maybe it deserves what it's getting. According to Business Insider, 7700 people have lost their jobs in the media over the last year.
The media industry continued to execute cuts in December and November as Gannett, Highsnobiety, and the CBC reduced headcounts.Gannett is the publisher of USA Today (and our local Florida Today). They merged with local paper giant GateHouse and both of them laid off employees. Gannett laid off 215 while GateHouse laid off 243 between last January, May and August. Last January 23rd, Gannett laid off 400.
The cuts followed large rounds of layoffs earlier in the year from companies including BuzzFeed, Verizon, and Vice Media.
The massive cuts this year represent a recent trend in media that has seen upstart companies and newspapers alike shrinking and disappearing.
It's not just print newspapers. Highsnobiety is some sort of “men's fashion and lifestyle” website, and of course BuzzFeed and Vice Media are web presences also. CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; they cut 35 jobs. An attempt to relaunch Gawker failed. HuffPost laid off 13 in its video department. ThinkProgress shut down in September.
I have to agree with writer Matt Margolis at PJ Media who points out the media is very distrusted as an institution. People are voting with their wallets.
What's the reason for the media industry doing so poorly while other sectors are experiencing a boom? I don't know; I'm sure much of it is because the media isn't adapting, but I can't dismiss the possibility that trust in the media being at historic lows is playing a part, either. A recent Gallup Poll shows that Americans "remain largely mistrustful of the mass media," and that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that much of what the media is presenting is biased, inaccurate, or misinformation.Gallup presents a graph of the combined responses for trusting the media a Great Deal and a Fair Amount. I notice something interesting in this, besides the overall downward trend over the measurement time.
It's worth noting here that media coverage of President Trump is 90 percent negative. Maybe the public is sick of media outlets that do public relations on behalf of the Democratic Party.
Notice the biggest drops in reported trust in the media. I read them as the years 2000, '04, '08, '12 and '16 (although 2000 doesn't stand out as much as, say, '04 does). Those are all Presidential election years. It seems to me that the media reaches a crescendo of negative coverage of even RINOs like John McCain and Mittens Romney, and it stands out to people, making them trust the media even less. It gets more revealing when you look at the same data sorted by political leanings.
Notice how the big drops in presidential years are less obvious. Democrats had a big dip in 2000, while Republicans had the dip in 2001; is that a remnant of the hanging chad news coverage? The Dems didn't have dips in '04, '08 and '12 while Republicans did. Independents had dips in '08 and '12Notice also that the years since the '16 election have seen the Democrats trust in the media go up by 35%, from 51% to 69% this year, claiming either a Great Deal or a Fair Amount of trust in the media, while at the same time, Republicans went from 14% to 15%, a 7% increase but still around 25% of the Democrats' trust. Is that because the Democrats like the media lies and the Republicans don't? (In both cases, I'm ignoring the peaks in 2018 and treating them as transients. It's entirely possible that in another year we'll see that the 69% and 15% numbers were also transients and we'll get slightly different answer.) Finally, note how the last few years saw Democrat trust in the media higher than anywhere in the 22 years shown while Republican trust in the media has been in decline since 1998 and is now close to an all time low.
* No, I really didn't come across a group of reporters singing spirituals. That's an attempt at humor.