Worth reading is Asbury Park Press reporter Russ Zimmer’s exit rant as he announces his departure from journalism one month before Gannett shareholders vote on a takeover bid by MNG Enterprises/Digital First Media, a company that has a reputation of slashing editorial budgets.
Zimmer made his remarks in a series of seven tweets on Friday evening.
“Today is my last day at the @AsburyParkPress (I have a new job!) and i just want to say something as I exit the news business. The people who do the yeoman’s work of reporting are not being rewarded commensurate with their effort, skills and contributions.”
“I would guess the same amount of money as ever is swirling in and around the business of connecting people with information about their world, but less and less of it is going toward paying people for the work of actually gathering news.”
“There are goliaths like Google/fb taking the lion’s share of the ad $; TV news mostly just repackages any enterprise developed by competing legacy news org; many websites exist only to aggregate someone else’s work; and of course the analysis-hot take industrial complex.”
“And yes there are short-sighted owners of newspapers, incl the private equity reavers that are absorbing community news at an increasing pace and also the familiar corporations whose executives are supposedly serving shareholders by reducing how much they spend on reporters.”
“So let me close by just saying that news industry leadership needs to figure this out. There is a long-term answer out there, something that probably upends the structure of the news biz in a way that will be unpalatable/financially painful to some.”
“But in the short-term I would urge you to get a subscription to a local news source that provides -original- reporting. It’s not perfect, but that is still the best way to financially support local reporters, WHO SHOULD ALL UNIONIZE.”
Zimmer has spent early fourteen years as a journalist, the last five with the Asbury Park Press.