News

Big stories and essential reporting don’t protect the Florida Times-Union from a fresh round of staff cuts.
Then a bold, if slightly desperate, idea came to him. In his brushes with the professional journalism crowd, he’d heard about an increasingly popular school of thought: if the press is a public service, it ought to be publicly funded.
“In a smaller community or even a city the size of Shreveport/Bossier, you need enough journalists to cover what’s happening in the city government, what’s happening at the parish level, what’s happening at the state level, especially what’s happening down in Baton Rouge,” NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss said.
In October, Gannett offered a round of voluntary buyouts to all its employees. Poynter has learned that roughly 600 people opted in and roughly 500 buyouts were accepted... “Gannett’s furloughs earlier this year and the recent buyouts undermine our democracy,” said Jon Schleuss, president of The NewsGuild — Communications Workers of America. “It’s a disgrace that any news company thinks it can cut its way to success.”
Dr. Seema Yasmin, who studies the overlap of news deserts and health deserts, told Brian Stelter that those of us who live in news deserts are more likely to face not just a pandemic, but also a misinfodemic that fuels the spread of the disease. Speaking on Reliable Sources on CNN on Nov. 15, 2020, she said the press is “immune system of a democracy.”

As more local news outlets close their doors amid dried up revenue streams, destructive hedge fund ownership, and tech platform monopolies, the issue has become as clear as day: local news is facing an extinction-level event. 

The NewsGuild is fighting to save the news, and the “Paths Forward Town Hall” this week provided insight into the scope of the crisis facing American journalism, and a stirring call to action from some of the leading thinkers on building a sustainable future for the news industry.

“Our nation desperately needs a new COVID-19 economic relief package and we cannot afford an abrupt halt in negotiations. Tens of millions of Americans remain out of work, including 11,000 journalists laid off in the first half of 2020. Everyone suffers when journalists lose jobs and we lose access to critical, life-saving news and information.

When the The Casper Star-Tribune this summer announced it would only print five editions per week -- leaving Wyoming with not a single local newspaper that prints every day -- it was “a symbolic punch”  to the gut for the paper’s newsroom staff, former reporter Seth Klamann recalled.