SPJ concerned about record number of job cuts to newsroom staff
Claire Regan, SPJ National President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists is concerned about the increased number of layoffs to journalists in 2023.
This year has seen a record number of media job cuts with the most recent being LAist, run by Southern California Public Radio, and dot.LA, which focuses on tech and startup news. LAist announced Tuesday that it is eliminating 21 positions, 10% of staff, as part of a restructuring due to a revenue shortfall. Dot.LA laid off its entire editorial staff of seven journalists on Monday as it shifts focus to newsletters.
Thursday, SPJ expressed concern over the Los Angeles Times elimination of 74 positions, about 13% of staff. At the time, SPJ Vice President Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins said, “This is yet another sign of a disturbing trend across our industry. When newsroom management makes these kinds of cuts, the public becomes less informed, which puts our very Democracy at risk.”
A new report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, found at least 17,436 jobs have been cut as of May 31, a 315% increase from this time last year. This is the highest amount of job cuts on record, including surpassing cuts made during the beginning of the pandemic.
“Local journalism is often the first to be impacted by these cuts. The loss of so many journalism jobs — and entire newsrooms — can create news deserts and ghost newspapers, where there is no longer regular on the ground coverage of a community,” said SPJ National President Claire Regan. “When a steady stream of reliable and accurate information dries up, a tidal wave of misinformation threatens democracy.”
At the LA Times nearly 60% of the staff laid off were people of color, according to a report by the Media Guild of the West. This is worrying in an industry already known for lacking in racial and ethnic diversity. Newsrooms should represent the communities they cover. Experts say a more diverse staff is likely to produce a wider range of stories and perspectives.
SPJ stands with journalists who were laid off, and we thank them for their vigilance in pursuit of truth. If you are a current SPJ member who has recently been laid off, you may be eligible to have your membership feeds waived for six months.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.