The Bad News About the News

Here's the bad news about the news and why it matters.

The Columbia Journalism Review called it a brutal week for American journalism, reporting that by one estimate, BuzzFeed and media properties owned by Verizon, Gannett had begun to lay off more than 1,000 people between them.

The layoffs are happening at both digital news websites as well as at traditional local newspapers in several cities around the country.  And among the journalists who are both being laid off and those who still have their jobs, the concern is the same.  As news jobs are cut, the scrutiny and fact-checking of the actions by those in all levels of government will be weaker, with fewer people trying to do what is a very big and important job\.

Jobs cut at tradition newspapers started years ago, as on-line and mobile news apps began growing.  But now many of these job cutbacks in the news business are happening at digital media outfits as well.  And digital news was supposed to be the pathway to profit for less use of traditional forms of media like newspapers, magazines and the nightly TV network news.

So what’s happening?  There are many theories, from both the political right, many of whom say it’s a backlash from news media bias…and from the political left, many of whom blame profit hungry companies that have slashed newsroom budgets.

Why may be less important than What.  What will happen if there are fewer and fewer journalists working as the Fourth Estate to inform the public? 

Depending on getting the truth only on Facebook and Twitter can be a dangerous thing and we see evidence of that all the time.

(Photo credit Getty Images)

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