It’s Friday, January 27th.
Over the past two weeks, layoffs have impacted hundreds of journalism workers across several outlets. After NBC News and MSNBC cut 75 staffers due to structural reorganization on Jan. 13, Vox Media announced a round of layoffs on Jan. 20, followed by similar announcements from Adweek, the Washington Post and lifestyle publisher Dotdash Meredith, which houses brands like People, Travel + Leisure, and InStyle.
At the Post, popular game vertical Launcher and children’s section KidsPost are being sunsetted, despite the former’s traffic increasing in 2022, with the Washington Post Guild noting that they received “no clear explanation why these layoffs had to happen.”
Media isn’t the only industry being hit by layoffs en masse, as companies increasingly look to cut costs in anticipation of an economic dip.
But what would it look like if executive leadership showed up for workers by cutting their salaries to help preserve jobs?
In his Nieman Lab prediction for 2023, The Objective’s cofounder, Gabe Schneider, posed a question outlets considering layoffs must reckon with, especially if they claim to care for their workers: “If a living wage does not currently exist at your news organization, yet your executive leadership is making 3 to 10 times more than the lowest-paid salary or contract worker, then how are journalists supposed to report for their communities without being exhausted and demoralized?”
“We need to publicly discuss how inappropriate these salary disparities are — both in for-profit and nonprofit newsrooms — when so many news organizations are struggling and laying off workers,” he wrote.
There are already some newsroom leaders leading by example: Eight employees at the Detroit Free Press — most managers/editors, including top editor Peter Bhatia — volunteered to step down from their jobs to stem involuntary layoffs earlier this month.
If you’re looking to support recently laid-off workers, here are some ways to do so:
- Donate to the Vox Media Layoff Fund 2023, organized by Vox Media, Dodo, and Thrillist Union members.
- Donate to the Washington Post employee layoff fund, organized by Washington Post Guild members.
And if you were recently laid off, this crowdsourced job board has several listings for open journalism jobs — both on-site and remote — along with resources for updating your Linkedin and job listing newsletters.
– Janelle Salanga
A Bit More Media
Q&A: Samantha Sunne. Last week, we spoke with Samantha Sunne, ProPublica Local Reporting Fellow and coauthor of Data + Journalism: A Story-Driven Approach to Learning Data Reporting, about the book’s recently-released bonus chapter and how she’s learning to incorporate DEI into her own work.
AAJA guidance on covering violence. The Asian American Journalist Association urges newsrooms to contextualize reporting, diversify their sources, and support AAPI colleagues while covering the recent mass shooting in Monterey Park, CA. AAJA is also reminding members that funding is available for journalists seeking mental health support.
Reveal union is recognized. Four days after staff announced their union, leaders at the country’s first nonprofit investigative newsroom, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, granted recognition. Following last year’s layoffs, staffers sent a letter of no confidence to the organization’s board and Kaizar Campwala resigned as CEO.
Antisemitism in journalism. Jewish Currents associate editor Mari Cohen explains how overwhelming reliance on a single source (or, a “primary definer”) weakens coverage of antisemitism and has led to wrongful characterization of Palestinian liberation struggle as antisemitic. She urges journalists to challenge faulty structural practices, especially as Jewish communities face increasing discrimination and violence.
The importance of Black news outlets. Kansas City Police Department and newsrooms denied reports of missing women, but the Kansas City Defender listened to community members. And they were right, a killer was on the loose. In an interview with Capital B’s Christina Carrega, founder Ryan Sorrell explains the story and why radical Black media is “absolutely essential.”
How to (actually) accomplish DEI goals. Despite good intentions, many industry leaders’ promises to confront racial injustice within their newsrooms aren’t taking root. For Source, Amanda Zamora offers three ways news leaders can examine their goals and take DEI initiatives past the brainstorming stage.
Stay Up To Date
0 days until … AI/Automation & Accessibility, a NPA Community Zoom Call. Patrick Garvin hosts this educational session today at 2 p.m. EST.
3 days until … AAJA Presents: The Space — Grief/Healing. The webinar is an off-the-record Zoom space for students to process their feelings around recent violence against Asians at Indiana University, facilitated by AAPI mental health expert Jeanie Y. Chang.
4 days until … The Next Wave of America’s Overdose Crisis. This webinar, hosted by the Center for Health Journalism, offers “fresh story angles and practical tips” for journalists.
What else should we feature? You tell us. Send an email to [email protected].
A Few More Resources
Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | JournalismJobs.com | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | Source Jobs | Opportunities of the Week ($)
How about a style guide? Trans Journalist Association | Diversity Style Guide | Tribal Nations Media Guide | NABJ Style Guide | Disability Language Style Guide | AAJA Guide to Covering Asian Pacific America | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook | SPJ Race & Gender Hotline | AMEJA Media Resource Guide | The Press in Prison | The Conscious Style Guide
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This issue is by Janelle Salanga and Holly Rosewood with editing by Curtis Yee.
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The Objective is a nonprofit newsroom holding journalism accountable for past and current systemic biases in reporting and newsroom practices. We are written by and for those underrepresented in journalism.