Top editors alarmed by media cuts in EU and beyond

Sallie Anderson

The pandemic downturn is strangling quality journalism, however that matches some federal governments, leading European and international editors have actually stated.

“The situation is very difficult. We’re in major cost-saving measures,” Tammy Tam, editor-in- chief of the South China Early Morning Post, an independent Hong Kong-based paper, stated on Tuesday (19 May).

“Everyone is having pay cuts and non-paid leave of three weeks. Advertising income is zero,” she stated.

“Advertisers don’t want their name to be connected with news on coronavirus,” Martin Baron, the editor-in- chief of United States paper The Washington Post, likewise stated.

“Subscriptions are saving us,” he stated.

They spoke by videoconference at the Media Council of the World Financial Online Forum (WEF), a Swiss think-tank, amidst practically day-to-day statements of editorial task losses around the world.

Injured companies consist of widely known online publications Buzzfeed, Quartz, and Vice, media group Condé Nast, and even The Economic expert, which just recently cut 90 tasks, though not editorial ones.

However the list of victims is a lot longer, covering likewise regional publications and business- focused ones.

Some 36,000 media employees in the United States have actually lost their tasks, been furloughed, or had pay cuts given that the crisis started, United States paper The New york city Times has actually approximated.

More than 150 newsrooms in Australia have actually likewise closed briefly or completely given that January, British day-to-day The Guardian reported.

And “even after the pandemic recedes, the likely recession to follow could hurt ad revenue for years to come,” Quartz CEO Zach Seward just recently cautioned.

There have actually been no comparable tallies for European newsrooms, however EU culture ministers promised more financial help for the sector in future when they spoke by videoconference likewise on Tuesday.

We need to “ensure support for our media sector, which is crucial for our fight against disinformation”, Obuljen Koržinek, Croatia’s minister of culture, who chaired the talks, stated.

“I don’t know how anyone can imagine this lockdown without access to online content,” EU commissioner Mariya Gabriel likewise stated, describing both news and home entertainment.

EU monetary lifelines must be “considerably increased”, she stated.

However for some at the WEF conference, national federal governments were sobbing crocodile tears.

“In Paris, work is more difficult without working lunches. But officials are happy to be left alone, with fewer journalists around,” Sylvie Kaufmann, the editorial director of French paper Le Monde, stated.

French president Emmanuel Macron had actually required to welcoming simply 3 or two French reporters to his rundowns on EU tops, however none were press reporters specialising in EU affairs, she stated.

“In Brussels, it’s also problematic: No more doorstep questions, no more journalistic pressure,” Kaufmannadded


“Working for journalists has become more difficult in Asia, eastern Europe, and the US. Governments are making use of the situation to make journalism more difficult,” John Micklethwait, the editor-in- chief of the US-based Bloomberg news company, stated.

“Access to information is also a victim of the coronavirus pandemic,” Tom Gibson, the Brussels director of the Committee to Secure Reporters, a New York-based NGO, likewise informed EUobserver.

“The crisis has made it abundantly clear: EU citizens need reliable information as a matter of safety and public health. Yet the media is now facing a new wave of censorship,” headded


The financial circumstance was not everywhere grim.

The Washington Post stated the pandemic had actually driven “a massive increase in digital subscriptions”.

Tech danger

And coronavirus was simply one factor for the editorial lay-offs.

Tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, demolishing what little bit advertisement earnings there was left, while releasing other individuals’s material totally free was another factor, Vice publication CEO Nancy Dubuc just recently stated.

Tech companies were “benefiting and making money from our hard work”, she stated.

” Now, after several years of this, the capture is ending up being a chokehold. [Online] platforms are not simply taking a bigger piece of the pie, however practically the entire pie,” she stated.

“News should not be for free. Nothing is for free,” The Washington Post’s Baron likewise stated at the WEF conference on Tuesday.

” Paid online media will [have to] boost,” Bloomberg’s Micklethwait forecasted.

“The response of EU institutions to the pandemic will also need to be framed in terms of protecting journalists around the bloc, and this needs to be urgently prioritised,” the CPJ’s Gibson stated.

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