Philly media cut deep, but journalism community sticks together
If you haven’t heard by now, the Philadelphia media landscape is being denuded.
In the last two months, City Paper ceased its 34-year print run. WHYY experienced a major leadership shakeup. Philadelphia Magazine weathered a PR disaster with the cover of its October issue. And now, more long expected bad news about the news: nearly 50 layoffs were announced Wednesday to Philly.com, the Daily News and the Inquirer. Parent company Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) will be merging the three newsroom and consolidating staff save over $5 million companywide in the coming years.
Needless to say, you’re going to have fewer stories to read about the city you live in.
The latest blow confirmed a lot of trembling murmurs about the local news industry. The climate is changing faster than we can adapt. It would be dishonest to say that AL DÍA wasn’t struggling in its own ways with this crisis. Newsrooms are more anemic and understaffed than they’ve ever been, from the legacy outlets down to the internet startups.
But hold fast thine tears, for we are nimble and resilient creatures. (This is a prerequisite for living on journalist’s salary.)
Philly journalists have extended lots of compassion towards each other — first when City Paper folded, and now with those who lost their jobs at PMN. It’s a life-affirming dose of compassion. Long-time readers are reaching out to their favorite reporters with condolences. Daily News columnist Helen Ubiñas has been tweeting out for media headhunters using the hashtag #hireaphillyjourno. Fellow journo Davis Shaver then compiled a long list of job offerings for journalists. (P.S. AL DÍA is taking resumés.)
Look at all this love:
The Daily News and Philly.com both lost 17 staff members each, while the Inquirer is down 12. Due to radically different staff sizes, the cuts are deeper for the former two news providers.
Will solidarity bring about a surge in paying journalism jobs?
Philadelphia Magazine is now reporting that the Newspaper Guild has offered to purchase the Daily News in order to avoid cuts from the paper. (Inter-industry news coverage is its own form of outreach, in a way.) But the paper’s owner Gerry Lenfest has repeated his disinterest in selling.
Amid the uncertainty, keep the compassion train rolling — on the Twitter-sphere for sure, but also hopefully in real life in the form of jobs. Or, at the very least, a few rounds of drinks and maybe a hot meal. It's dark out there.