Media bloodletting

“TIME Inc. today becomes not a publisher of magazines but of pink slips instead,” reports the New York Post.
The Post says 250 will be laid off today, part of the ongoing slaughter
of people’s livelihoods at the magazine, and of the 600 latest of a
long series of purges of people. (Time Magazine, btw, closed its Canada bureau in 2006; the “Canadian Edition” note at the top  of magazines sold in Canada is a joke at best.)

Meanwhile, PaidContent notes there’s been “a slew of mag closures and layoffs at media companies the past few weeks.” Canada, as J-Source knows, has been hit hard.

Sometimes these ongoing cuts seem like bloodletting, the medical
treatment of barbaric physicians who more often than not killed their
patients. In the media’s case perhaps the “physicians” are the bean
counters and the financial black wizards who engineered the mergers and
acquisitions of the sources of information in North America’s
democracies with complicated takeovers and acquisitions, with the
winners then imposing “efficiencies,” “streamlining of operations,”
etc. on their prey.

Maybe “subprime” would be a better comparison than “bloodletting.”

David Carr of The New York Times recently took a critical look
at the axing of senior journalism jobs, and the long-term impact of
those cuts on media corporations. He compared the dumping of seasoned
pros by media companies to the way Circuit City swapped knowledgable
store personnel for cheap novice clerks — before it sought bankruptcy

“In the digital age, we’re told, the critical difference
success and failure is human capital — those heartbeats and fast hands
that can make a good business great,” said Carr. Journalism, he added, is “more craft than profession …  it is the
accumulation of experience and technique that makes a journalist

“Right now, the consumer has all manner of text to choose from on
platforms that range from a cellphone to broadsheet. The critical point
of difference journalism offers is that it can reduce the
signal-to-noise ratio and provide trusted, branded information. That
will be a business into the future, perhaps less paper-bound and
smaller, but a very real business.”

And Carr made a prediction: “Newspapers, which began the race with a
huge lead in terms of human assets, may end up just another part of the
underinformed commodity of clutter.”

(Disclosure: Before Time closed in Canada I made much of my own living from the magazine. Yes, cutbacks are personal.)