Florida Times-Union slashes photographers

And now there are just two.

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From 15 to 5 to…2.

It is as if almost every other industry in the US is seeing their fortunes rise.

Save for journalism.

So we can discount the theory that its problems are tied to the economy.

It’s more than that.

It is the structure of the very profession itself.

Even in Los Angeles, the situation is no better.

The entire industry has collapsed, and looking for a saviour won’t help.

The problem won’t be solved until radical changes happen within.

Blood-letting at Bonnier

Seventeen percent of their US workforce, which translates to 70 people, have been let go.

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Magazines have been having a horrid time, and no, the digital migration hasn’t saved it. Posh, high-end rags are as vulnerable as the rest. Once upon a time, a simple hack in publishing was to appeal to the wealthy lifestyle; so that they could attract advertisers with deeper pockets.

With the US economy improving, publishing has been no benefactor of this boon.

That is not a good sign for the industry at all.

Economic boom not happening in journalism

Layoffs in California newspapers are coming.

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For all the talk about a turnaround and how the “Trump effect” is re-igniting interest in news, the bloodbath is continuing.

Why? Because journalism has completely lost its vision. You cannot constantly sound like a petty and vindictive bully. You need facts and a cool head.

But the panic in the industry is spreading, and there is a void, making being informed a much harder ordeal.

Eroding Grains: How the death of journalism is erasing history.

When I wrote Don’t Believe It!: How lies become news, my research had many facets, but the bulk was tracking down original stories that were either flat-out lies or hoaxes. Some of these articles were decades old, while others were only a few years old. I used a variety of databases, microfilm, universities, and libraries, along with my own large library of files I collected over the years.

Some of these bogus articles came from tiny community newspapers, and I had to get in touch with those libraries to send me a photocopy…by snail mail. It was not hard to find television transcripts as well. The trickiest article to find was one in the New York Post that was just a little too early to make it into their online database, and I had to ask my local library to requisition it from the New York Public Library (my library was actually reluctant to do it, and rudely turned me down, but changed their tune when I called their New York City colleagues who graciously set them straight). That was 2004.

Fast forward to 2017 when I wrote When Journalism was a Thing.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, it was not the same experience. Some of the articles were nearly impossible to find. Quite a few were scrubbed from databases, and even large libraries did not have any kind of copies available. I found everything I needed (free or for a fee, like before), but what once took me minutes sometimes took me days.

Even though I noticed the information erosion before, it didn’t quite hit me until I wrote my book. I never thought I would stump librarians before, but I did this time, unlike the last.

But even with libraries, sometimes the fees for finding certain things became pricey. Information wasn’t free or easy.

You (a) had to have the money to pay for information, and (b) you had to have the ingenuity to find some of the more obscure stories, particularly the original articles that had flaws. A media outlet could wipe the slate clean by expunging the sins of the past, leaving shards of a trace of their bad reportage.

But bad reporting is still a part of the historical record, and even its removal is deceptive. It would be like a country or company shredding evidence of their illegal practices, or at least their offensive documents.

But it goes further than that.

Journalism was never a science, but the job losses ensured it became a lost art. Stories don’t get covered, and of those that do, there are so many factual and logical problems to render it nearly useless.

Because we have outlets shutting down, their archives are also at risk. Important information is lost, and there is no guarantee a government body will look after archives.

The grains of information are eroding quickly in 2018. We have become too complacent, assuming the mysterious collective known as They will record everything for us, and yet the traditional venues are slowly doing away with not just hard copies, but electronic copies as well.

And with the explosion of partisan and even propaganda reporting, our understanding of the world around us is ever-shrinking.

We are losing information every day, and yet we stare at the computer screen smugly as well believe that everything we need to know is accessible and accurate when both assumptions could not be more wrong.

Dear Atlantic: Do you really want to know why the “Media Apocalypse” Happened? Spoiler Alert: It’s your bad reporting. The Anyone But Us Narrative keeps right on happening.

The Atlantic is not a thinking person’s publication.

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It is arrogant sophistry that feels deep to sheltered teenagers.

The latest diatribe from Derek Thompson called “How to Survive the Media Apocalypse” is yet another oblivious piece of “what went wrong?” for the profession.

It comes off as an abusive spouse who is arrested for killing the other after the body is finally found, and is in an interrogation room with the police parading all sorts of dead-to-rights evidence of what happened to the victim, and then asking the suspect what happened.

The original plan of denying anything happened to the victim has now passed. The body has turned up. So the guilty party begins to blame everyone else for the crime — everyone but the person who actual squeezed the life out of the person. At no time with the killer ever admit to any wrongdoing — it will always be someone else’s fault, no matter how many boxes of evidence presented that clearly show who the guilty party is.

What happened to journalism? Its very bad and corrupt ways killed it. Reporters were the abusive spouse and their profession became the murder victim. That’s it. The End.

You do not think you are superior to the people you report to with your stories. You do not cut corners. You do not lie. You do not rely on press releases. You do not use your job to settle childish spats. You do not exaggerate. You do not substitute opinion for fact. You do not ignore people because they are less glamorous than a Hollywood starlet. You do not ignore people because they are teenagers, women, minorities, elderly, or disabled. You do not appeal to authority. You do not use fear.

That list can go on and on, and journalists are still committing every one of those sins. You cannot blame Donald Trump, Russia, and the Internet for your own nincompoopity, or use any of those as an excuse for behaving like a turnip. I am really surprised they are not blaming their grandmothers for it.

You can point a finger of blame, but three fingers are pointing right back at you.

You want journalism to mean something again?

The first step is by looking inside your own rotting soul, and face the truth.

Memo to Huffington Post Canada: Yes, it was a brutal week for newspapers. No, the government can’t save the industry because throwing money at people unwilling to confront their demons just enables them. It is time journalists solve their own messes all by themselves.

More whining from Canadian journalists how their arrogant and sloppy ways have killed the profession. This time, this beggars in question are the Huffington Post Canada.

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Jerry Dias’ very skewed column is the same old story: journalists don’t know how to do the job. Journalists alienate people. Journalists lose their jobs. Journalists beg for handouts from the government.

Yes, if you can’t persuade audiences to pay for your product, force them to do it by snatching away their tax dollars.

If you can’t persuade a girl to kiss you after a date, or go out with you again, just force her to do it.

And we honestly wonder how sexual harassment became accepted in newsrooms.

If the government were to humour these unteachable people, what would change?

They would not examine their old ways, let alone question them and admit what they did before wasn’t working. They would continue to do what they always did, and audiences would continue to pay for a product they do not use, and find irrelevant in their lives.

I have written about this problem before: Canadian journalism was always on shaky ground because there is a lackadaisical attitude precisely because Canada funds industries that would be better served by being forced to face their own shortcomings.

You are not connecting with audiences. That’s just a fact. You are supposed to have a feel for your surroundings, and yet you have a profession that requires consultants and focus groups to know what people want.

And even then, journalists can’t even pander properly.

Of course, it is not about pandering, but journalists in Canada don’t get it. There is always a compulsion to put a sunny spin on bad news, or fawn over vain politicians.

You do not reward nincompoopity. You do not throw good money at people unwilling to admit they screwed up. They have to earn their readers and viewers, and if those audiences do not want a journalism product, then that’s that.

The government has the CBC. They already have a news outlet. They already give grants to publications. What next?

That the government has a hand in every Canadian communication outlet?

And people think Putin is a tyrant who controls his media.

In Canada, journalists are begging the government to Putinize their product.

It is beyond insane. It is completely irrational and unhinged.

Memo to Canadian journalists: you want politicians and leaders to be accountable for their actions?

Well then, lead by example.

You lost your audience, now be accountable — not the taxpayers who want to live in a democracy — and that includes the right not to pay for your incompetence.

Memo to journalists: Journalism didn’t just lose the battle. They lost the war.

LA Weekly has been sold and there is worry. And journalists who are angry as the sale is not even transparent.

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A war on journalism?

Not anymore.

The war was fought a long while ago, and journalists lost.

Sure, there were warning signs. Sexual predators and fabricators got hired, groomed, fawned over, protection, promoted, and spoiled silly by their masters. While PR firms and their ilk spent billions of dollars researching how to better do their jobs…

Journalists did not. They thought they knew everything.

The j-schools didn’t conduct studies. The deans got uppity at the notion that they had to change the ways they taught future generations. Editors dismissed innovative ideas.

Journalists bragged about who they bedded, how drunk they got, and the glorious old fights they had when stoned, and they always tried to one up each other with war stories.

They scraped off each others’ newscasts. They plagiarized and they rehashed press releases. They let PR firms dictate the stories. They covered fake celebrities. They relied on pundits instead of people with actual facts.

But say any of it, and the howling from the peanut gallery at the thought that they are less than perfect says it all.

Journalism has lost the war. They never got that they were soldiers in a war to liberate truth from lies. They never had their war manuals. They never trained soldiers to be soldiers. They covered beauty pageants and worst-dressed lists. They covered canned events such as debates and press conferences as if those choreographed affairs were legitimate news stories.

And now they are alarmed? When they were taken prisoner by the victors of the war they never knew they were their enemies?

That fact that journalists never realized it tells you the true state of affairs for the profession. When the American president calls the traditional press “fake news”, he has a point.

He knew how to play them ever since November 1, 1976 when he beguiled The New York TimesHow could he ever have respect for a press that published that?

Journalism has more than just a problem. Way more than just a crisis. Even more than just a cataclysm.

It first has to come to grips with its own demise, and make certain that its rebirth is one with a phoenix — and not a zombie as all signs point to at the moment.

But that won’t happen unless journalists look inward to do the first exposé it must do: on itself.

Fortunately, I have already taken the trouble to do it, and I will continue to fight for truth in any way I can.