The U.S. economy continues to grow at a historic rate and unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969, but one industry is bucking all of the positive trends---the news media. An estimated 3,000 journalists across various media companies were let go from their jobs in the first five months of this year, on pace for the most in a single year since 2009, in the wake of the Great Recession. That's according to data compiled by Challenger, Gray & Christmas (CGC). The trend started back in January, when BuzzFeed announced it was cutting 15 percent of its workforce, but has continued since then with outlets like Yahoo, HuffPost, Vice Media and CNN also announcing job cuts.
Andy Challenger, Vice President of CGC, tells KTRH the bleed in journalism jobs comes at a time when the rest of the economy is roaring. "At the same time, when we look at the media sector, we continue to see job cuts and newsrooms and journalist positions shrinking over the last few years," he says. "In the last two years, we've really seen an increase in the number of these job cuts in the news and media sector."
As for what is behind the decline in journalism, Challenger points to consolidation, with media companies paring down jobs and individual duties. "There are now fewer positions in some way than there are journalists," he says. "But the journalists who are employed have a lot of extra work to do."
However, the biggest culprit in the media struggles is competition from two tech behemoths that have reshaped the media landscape. "More than 50 percent of all online advertising is being paid to Google and Facebook," says Challenger. "That leaves a lot less for news media."