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The media industry’s preexisting conditions | Columbia Journalism Review

By Jon Allsop
May 15, 2020

In March and April—as the economic crisis linked to the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, started to hammer the media industry—news organizations made cuts. Some of these involved layoffs; others, including furloughs and salary reductions, were billed as temporary, storm-weathering measures. At the time, such claims attracted skepticism. Last Wednesday, two major media companies which already made COVID-era cuts deepened them. Condé Nast, which moved to cut pay for higher-earning employees in April, laid off around a hundred staffers, and put roughly the same number on furlough. And BuzzFeed—which imposed tiered salary reductions in March, then put 68 staffers on furlough in May—furloughed a further four US-based employees, as well as its entire local-news teams in the UK and Australia; sources told The Guardian that the latter staffers are “highly unlikely” ever to come back, with BuzzFeed planning a strategic pivot to “news that hits big in the US” under its new editor in chief, Mark Schoofs. As CNN’s Kerry Flynn noted in a story on the two rounds of cuts, “media executives are signaling that pay cuts implemented at the beginning of the pandemic are no longer enough to stave off the economic headwinds stemming from the crisis.”

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Source: The media industry’s preexisting conditions – Columbia Journalism Review

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