“Contract? What’s a contract? You are all freelancers who get paid if we publish your article.”
So long, it’s been good to know you!
Our “local” paper is now nearly self-published by the stringers who are all the reporters there are. The “editor” (who is in charge of two papers in the vicinity) selects which national articles and political cartoons to print and I think he may also choose which letters to the editor get printed. The stringers write and “proof” their articles, set the headline and actually place it into the layout of the paper, working online.
Oh yeah. The office: It’s in another town.
The reality is even worse here in Italy.
When I was a kid in the ’70s the Tampa Bay area had 4 large dailies (2 in the AM; The Tampa Tribune and St Pete Times and 2 in the PM; The Tampa Times and St Pete Daily Independent). There were also other smaller dailies for specific towns that enjoyed good circulations. Now there is one large daily: The Tampa Bay Times which was the St Pete Times but changed its name when the Tampa Trib was bought out by them and folded (90% of the Trib staff were laid off only a lucky handful made the transfer to the Times). Some large metro areas have recently experienced not having a daily newspaper like New Orleans and Birmingham which went to 3 times a week. This trend will continue as media continues to go more and more digital. A lot of good journalists now find it hard to make a living as they now get shift pay by the article or by the word, not a salary let alone a contract.
Cancelled my subscription when the paper got thinner and thinner with more and more ads AND they kept charging more all the time.
This reminds me of the old “Dilbert” in which the Pointy-Haired Boss says (best as I remember): “There is absolutely no truth to the rumors that we are moving to Tahiti, making everyone wear funny hats, and giving you all lobotomies. Especially not at the prices we were quoted for the lobotomies.”
Better than nothing…which is the direction/destination.
Sounds like a fait accompli. So how can we work this to 1. Make sure readers get accurate local information and 2. Keep reporters reporting?
I don’t know how it works in the news media, but most working people don’t have the security that a contract connotes.
The papers are closing, the readers are passing on. As the readers are go, the young ones have no interest in papers. The TV and net have color, movement and sound. How can a paper compete?
What is constant in life? Change.
Multi year contracts? Does anyone other than players in MLB/NFL/NBA get them? “daily contracts”= “at will” employment (you can quit/be fired with no notice required)is the standard in the US.My local paper Austin American Statesmen moved the actual printing of the paper to Houston so it has to be printed early to allow for the 3 hours to transport it back to Austin so the news is old -no news or ballgame scores if they happened after 5 pm the previous day. They are pushing digital subscription and home delivery is $300+ annually.There are 40 houses on my street and one person gets the paper.
Reminds of Charles O. Finley, former owner of the Oakland A’s, who wanted baseball to go to annual contracts.
The might sell more papers if they printed the truth instead of fake news.
I worked at a newspaper for 22 years. One day a corporate axman showed up and called a meeting. He told us we were doing an excellent job, but our equipment was worn out and it would cost to much to replace it. He fired everyone (about 140 workers) and outsourced production to a competitor s plant in another city.
The building looks a lot like The Daily Planet.
Soon all of its employees will be changed into independent contractors, and the newspaper will only have top management on its payroll…
Change is necessary, and unavoidable.
50% of the ads in my paper are for hearing aids and dental implants. Wonder who they think is reading the paper?
Looks like the building for the Daily Planet.
Darrin Bell and Theron Heir