Sunday, October 12, 2008

checking in on journalism job losses: It's worse than you think

With news this last week of more layoffs at papers as far flung as Spokane Washington and Honolulu Hawaii, I thought I'd check in with Erica Smith's brutal Papercuts site, which tallies and maps the losses in the newspaper industry.

Kinda wish I hadn't done it so early on a Sunday morning, because now my day is shot: 11,683 jobs gone this year.

You look at a number like that, and you're not even sure how to process it. That's twice the population of Wasilla, Alaska. That's a whole lot of voices silenced, and a whole lot of papers left without enough of a staff to truly produce the news their communities need.

One really does have to wonder how the traditional news industry is going to make it out alive. With the economy destroyed, that's only going to speed the destruction (hell, even blog-based news sites are getting into the act now).

It's easy to look at an individual paper and say "You did this to yourselves." But to look at a total like that--a staggering number, impossible to truly process--and you realize the immensity of the changes that are afoot.

Happy Sunday folks.

PS. Feel like getting even more depressed? This entry about the Spokane layoffs, written by the person spearheading their multimedia journalism strategy, is a sad and intimate look at the gutting of a new media newsroom.

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