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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Media Decline

The news media continue to decline, with serious consequences for government accountability. David Lesher at CALmatters:
The state’s leading paper, the Los Angeles Times, launched a “sweeping reorganization.” Its newsroom also voted 248-44 to unionize and the publisher behind the reorganization (the fourth in the last four years) was put on leaveduring an investigation about sex harassment.
The Sacramento-based McClatchy Co., the nation’s second largest newspaper chain, also announced a major reorganization, followed by resignations of editors at the flagship paper, the Sacramento Bee, and at the Fresno Bee. The reorganization comes after the company lost nearly $240 million in the third quarter in 2017.
Digital First Media, the Denver-based publisher of several prominent California newspapers, began the second round of newsroom layoffs in less than a year. After the latest cuts, there were about 150 newsroom staff at the chain’s Mercury News in San Jose, down from 440 in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, in the online world, Facebook announced a new algorithm that downplays news publishers, causing speculation about whether the negative impact will be a “5 percent tweak or a 50 percent catastrophe.” The change prompted an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from San Francisco Chronicle editor Audrey Cooper. “The San Francisco Chronicle won’t go out of business because of this decision,” Cooper wrote. “But smaller publications very likely could, and virtually all news organizations will lose money that pays for reportage.