I spent part of this week at the Local News Summit in Charleston, S.C., which the Lenfest Institute and Aspen Institute convene for a small group of journalism leaders annually. We local media types talked about everything from artificial intelligence to sustainability. We also discussed the massive layoffs at the Los Angeles Times; the shakeup of the top leadership at the media startup Houston Landing; the private investor David D. Smith’s recent acquisition of Maryland’s largest newspaper, the Baltimore Sun. I also caught up this morning to the news that The Messenger, another startup that blew through $50 million in less than a year, is shutting down and laying off people they hired out of other jobs.
This is the part where I tell you to fund local people already doing the work. Moving on.
‘That’s Rich People’s Business’
These headlines might seem bleak to the casual observer, and I certainly don’t want to see good journalists out of work, but from where I stand, the media landscape is incredibly bright and promising. Also, if you are a laid-off journalist reading this and are from the South, this is your signal to move home. Your mama misses you, the cost of living is great, and I can name a dozen newsrooms that need you.
At another virtual convening of industry folks that also happened this week, we continued the conversation about newsroom implosions, layoffs and acquisitions. A few people chimed in that their staff was concerned about their jobs, but most of us said these issues seem far removed from our local medium and small newsrooms. As I like to say when celebrities fight, “That’s not T Kimmy’s business. That’s rich people’s business.” (My godson calls me T Kimmy. You can’t call me that, but if you are under the age of my oldest niece, I will allow Auntie.)
Most of the people in that virtual convening of news leaders are optimistic for pretty much the same reasons: we’re transparent with our staff about our financials, we are good places to work, and we don’t just do journalism for the
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