Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another sad day for journalists

I'll start off by saying that this post will not be like others seen on The Unbiased Tabloid. Instead of pinpointing and criticizing bias in news coverage, I'd like to take an opportunity to praise the absence of bias that would have likely been staggering in amount had it been present in this article. 
Although most of us would like to bury our heads in the sand at the mention of this depressing topic, the awful truth is that print journalism is struggling, maybe even slowly crumbling. As we have talked about in class, there are ways to see the "light at the end of the tunnel," so to speak, and to prepare ourselves for the rapid transformation of the tradition of journalism. 
Today, the D and C announced a job reduction amounting to a total of 59 employees, including the elimination of 11 open positions. I was surprised to see that, while the article was very brief, the writer (it was categorized under STAFF REPORTS) didn't try to glorify or justify the D and C's actions in laying off so many employees. 
The article begins like this..."Facing a worsening local and national economy, the Democrat and Chronicle this week will lay off 34 employees and accept voluntary separation requests from 14 others." 
The writer blames the layoffs on the horrible state of our economy, which of course at this point can't really be disputed. The writer continues with only the basic facts, the total number of layoffs, the fact that the job cuts amount to about 8 percent, the amount of severance pay laid off employees will receive and how many jobs remain after the reductions. 
The only part of the article that I found to be a bit questionable or flaky were the quotations from D and C publisher Ali M Zoibi. Of course he is going to want to make an impression placing the D and C in a respectable position, but I think he may have gone a little far when he brought up First Amendment rights.
Zoibi said in a statement: "The Democrat and Chronicle remains steadfast in its commitment to fulfilling its First Amendment news responsibility, as well as providing excellent daily coverage of the greater Rochester community." 
Also, I would have liked to have seen some input from people in other management positions within the D and C. The addition of at least one more source may have added a bit more comfort to the seemingly ever increasing decline in journalism opportunities, driving home the idea that journalists are going to have to learn how to adapt to new positions, new environments and new technologies. 

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