Search This Blog

Friday, August 25, 2023

Texas Trubune Cuts

Many posts have dealt with media problems such as ghost newspapers and news deserts.

Some national outlets are doing fine, but state and local news organizations are struggling.

Angela Fu at Poynter:
Driven by unsteady economic conditions and changes in the media industry, The Texas Tribune executed layoffs Wednesday for the first time in its 14-year history.

In an email to staff, CEO Sonal Shah wrote that 2023 has been a particularly challenging year for the outlet, which many have come to see as a model for nonprofit journalism. At a time when newsrooms across the country are shrinking, the Tribune has maintained a largely upward trajectory, growing both its staff and budget as it expands its coverage of the state.

That momentum appeared to come to a halt Wednesday when 11 journalists were laid off, some of whom had worked at the outlet for years. Tribune copy chief Emily Goldstein posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the paper’s entire copy desk was eliminated, and senior editor and writing coach David Pasztor shared that he and the paper’s demographics and criminal justice reporters were all laid off. The layoffs also included two longtime multimedia reporters, one of whom won the outlet its first national Edward R. Murrow award, according to a post by former Tribune reporter Elise Hu.

“This year has proven more challenging for us than others — changes in the industry, the unsteady economy and the need to explore new platforms and modes of storytelling are all things the Tribune must address head on. We know we must change to stay ahead,” Shah wrote in her email to staff. “There are, of course, other challenges facing the media industry: AI, uneven news readership and engagement, changing audience behaviors and the growing phenomenon of news avoidance."


The Tribune currently has more than 100 people listed on its staff page, and it won two national Edward R. Murrow Awards just last week, including one for its breaking news coverage of the Uvalde mass shooting.

The layoffs come at a time of turmoil within the news industry. Dozens of news outlets have initiated layoffs this year, including nonprofits and newsrooms that had previously been regarded as relatively stable. Those cuts include NPR, which laid off roughly 100 employees in March, and the Los Angeles Times, which announced 74 cuts in June, its first layoffs since billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired the paper five years ago.

Global employment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas estimated in June there were at least 17,436 layoffs in the media industry during the first five months of 2023 — a record high.