Media Layoffs, Staff Cuts, Hiring, and New Power

Somewhat depressing, yet also interesting: keeping track of media layoffs and staff cuts. In the United States, this can be done for example through Poynter's Romenesko's news service (specifically for the news industry) and the I Want Media layoffs pages.

What is especially compelling is the discourse around such layoffs, and the shift from print to digital - however, that shift is not equal: loss of print jobs is not matched with gains in digital.

Furthermore, my own research and that of many others suggests that the shift in symbolic power within media organizations to the digital side of things corresponds with less control in the hands of editors and creative as "the show" increasingly gets organized around not just hardware and software, but the IT-savvy people (sometimes "techies") that control the machines. See for example case studies in the global news industry (note: I had the privilege of contributing a chapter to that book, "Making Online News", edited by David Domingo and Chris Paterson).

This not to say tech-savvy people within the media are evil, but they used to be at the bottom of the informal hierarchy. With their newfound power, will they share? Of course not. In the informal nature of workforce relationships throughout the creative industries, symbolic power, (peer review-based) status and prestige are your primarcy source of social capital.

And that kind of capital is switching to digital. In the words of AdRants: "Sadly, in a technologically-driven medium, the creative element sometimes gets a bum deal."

As I wrote: its somewhat depressing, yet also very interesting.