Saturday, July 19, 2008
Trail of Tears
The newspaper industry has not retrenched as it is doing now. All across Florida and the nation, there are thousands of journalists who have gotten a heave-ho of historic proportions. It is very sad, but also a stepping stone to the new journalism of the Internet, whatever that is. I would venture to say that newspapers do not know what that looks or feels like yet (although others have figured it out. Check out the political sites/blogs. That is some of the best stuff out there.)
Expect more painful cuts in the future. I found a great interactive map of the journalism Trail of Tears (http://graphicdesignr.net/papercuts/). Check out for yourselves the thousands of people who have been ordered to march from coast to coast.
The Florida numbers stack up like this thus far this year:
Miami Herald 250
Palm Beach Post 300 (all 300 buyouts were accepted this week)
Orlando Sentinel 95
Tampa Tribune 21 (this number is low; Media Gen'l announced Florida cuts of 250 to 260, incl. broadcast and community newspapers)
Bradenton Herald 1
Total 783 paper cuts
Nationwide, about 6,400 newsroom employees have been axed in 2008. I've read that 62 percent of the San Jose Mercury News staff is gone. Don't know if that is all editorial, but in either case that's a slaughter.
Florida accounts for 12.2 percent of the total paper cuts, which is not surprising given a sucky regional economy, especially housing. We are in one of Florida's famous boom and bust funks.
No doubt this Trail of Tears will expand by the end of 2008. The St. Pete Times has been rattling its chain about imminent layoffs, but no numbers yet announced. Don't know what's happening in Jacksonville.
In addition, the second quarter newspaper earnings reports published this week look very bleak. Media General (Tampa Tribune) and Gannett are taking big hits. I will address the financials in a separate post.
Get the hanky ready.