A BuzzFeed employee works on a couch at the company’s headquarters in the Midtown Manhattan offices in New York in this January… BRENDAN MCDERMID May 20, 2015 02:23pm EDT

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The media industry is among one of many reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, and publications are struggling to stay afloat.

Several major publications have begun massive rounds of layoffs, with The Atlantic reportedly cutting its staff by 20 percent. Vice Media, Buzzfeed, Quartz, and Condé Nast (the publisher of GQ and Vogue) have also let go of sizeable portions of their staff. Experts cite a drop in ad revenue despite a surge in readership as the driving force behind layoffs. The industry is also under fire for what call sensationalism in regard to coverage of Covid-19. 

A rise in media sensationalism, economic downturn, and bots used as weapons to sow confusion are moving advocates to argue for the preservation of independent and local journalism. Local outlets have been making their case to engage their readers in an active effort to keep these struggling papers alive.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Coronavirus patterns make local news even more important – Columbia Journalism Review – 5/21/20 As the media industry searches for alternative funding models for local journalism, an interesting experiment from American history has been largely overlooked, […] Los Angeles experimented with a municipal newspaper: a news outlet owned and financed by taxpayers. The paper was popular, but it didn’t last—according to some reports, it fell victim to smear campaigns launched by rival commercial papers.

Aiming for novelty in coronavirus coverage, journalists end up sensationalizing the trivial and untrue – Nieman Lab – 5/21/20 When a clear beginning, middle, and resolution are not discernible, the demand for any morsel of new information can confuse, rather than clarify, the story. Journalists rushing to amplify any small update can mistakenly inflate its importance with sensational headlines or hyperbolic broadcast framing.

Marketers need journalism to survive so let’s fix the print model – Marketing Week – 5/21/20 ‘Why even bother with print?’ some marketers will ask. Our industry has been so hypnotised by the tactical wizardry of programmatic delivery, real-time bidding and mass personalisation that print may seem like a relic from the Ark. But, however unsexy print media may seem to an army of youthful media planners focused on closing out the quarter, the evidence is clear. If you want to sell products and build brands, print media works. Its effectiveness can be measured over years, not just seconds.

Coronavirus is killing quality journalism – here’s one possible lifeline – The Conversation – 5/14/20 This makes reinvention and experiment essential. Journalists must not simply beg for financial sticking plasters for bleeding businesses, but invest in what we might call the infrastructure of public benefit news. We must make sure that the conditions are as good as possible for start-ups and for the re-engineering of news – and for local news above all.

Exclusive: New York Times phasing out all 3rd-party advertising data – Axios – 5/19/20 Third-party data, which is collected from consumers on other websites, is being phased out of the ad ecosystem because it’s not considered privacy-friendly. […] Murphy notes: “While a differentiator and I’m thrilled about it, this isn’t a path available for every publishers, especially not local who don’t have the scale of resources for building from scratch..”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

A.P. Joyce on Twitter, 5/21/20: *me in a job interview after journalism collapses* INTERVIEWER: Do you have any experience in systems analytics? ME: No, but I’m great at spelling the names of anti-malaria drugs that the FDA does not recommend for treating coronavirus

Nalaka Gunawardene on Twitter, 5/21/20: . Key messages at today’s session incl: We’ll have to live with #COVID for 12-18 mons (at least). #BehaviourChange vital for breaking #CoronaVirus transmission & containing pandemic. Laws alone can’t achieve this: media can show citizens how to act on enlightened self-interest..

Kerry Flynn on Twitter, 5/21/20: The Atlantic has produced arguably some of the best journalism during the pandemic and that contributed to a surge in subscriptions. See this Nieman Lab story. But the company wasn’t immune to the collapse of ad revenue and events businesses

Natasha Ghoneim on Twitter, 5/21/20: My alma mater @columbiajourn weighs in on state of #journalism .“As the entire world responds to the coronavirus pandemic, regimes are getting away with rationalizations of national security that would have been challenged in the past.”

The Hill on Twitter, 5/21/20: WATCH: CNN’s Chris Cuomo pulls out massive cotton swab to tease brother after live coronavirus test

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