Thursday, January 31, 2019

Op-ed: profit-based news model foundering; non-profit may be the best way to ensure good local coverage

January 23 was a "bloodbath for journalists," writes Tennessee journalist Steve Cavendish in a thoughtful op-ed for The Washington Post: "BuzzFeed said it would lay off 15 percent of its employees, and Verizon Media announced it would cut 7 percent from its newsrooms at HuffPost, AOL and Yahoo. Worst of all, a wave of layoffs tore through Gannett newsrooms across the country that day, hitting staffs that had already been thinned by years of nearly annual cuts."

Newspapers have had to make cuts because of reduced advertising revenue, and circulation revenue that hasn't brought in enough to make up for it, he summarizes. Gannett is under particular pressure because a hedge fund wants to acquire the company and make even more cuts, but more cuts would critically wound its ability to cover local news, Cavendish writes.

A non-profit model may be the best way to ensure quality, in-depth local coverage, writes Cavendish, who is president of nonprofit news startup Nashville Public Media.

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