The crisis that has mothballed into a dynamite for the print and broadcast media is nonetheless a lesson in hindsight for an industry that has surpassed its heydays. It seems to have been living on oxygen support from government advertisements which has allowed these entities to breathe and hold sway in light of the shifting paradigms that have engulfed media across the globe.
The changing tide has been evident for several years and the writing has been on the wall but pivoting towards changing the model and dependency hasn’t taken place. Honestly, the media industry is a doghouse with employees being underpaid and overworked, scrambling to earn a livelihood and barely making ends meet.
The sudden onset of these layoffs in the journalistic industry in both broadcast and print aren’t shocking, to say the least, but the question arises the government pulling the plug on its advertisements has plunged all these entities into the red.
In the name of cost-cutting, the employees are being kicked out or shown the door due to the worsening circumstances, which has seen them begging the government to save newspapers from death and ultimate bankruptcy.
A golden rule of any viable business is if it generates a profit, it should be kept operating and if it is bleeding or suffering from recurring losses, the best option is to shelve it.
There are several publications that have failed to pay their employees or owe them months of salaries including those who were inadvertently fired. Considering, legal recourse isn’t an option for those who have been shown the door and are already up to their necks in debt, they wouldn’t dare to sue their ex-employers.
Besides the headaches that such people would have to endure while transitioning through the courts and suing their swindling bosses would only land threats and downright stress which many are aware isn’t worth the hassle or risk their safety.
As exacerbating this crisis may be, it’s just the beginning of many painful transitions and bleedings that these broadcast and print organisations have to go through.
It is easy to lay off people in a swoop, entire bureaus end shutting close in a matter of minutes and seasoned journalists and their subordinates left jobless.
In a recently reported case, the owner of a newspaper was alleged to have sold off the press and laid off all the employees who were working besides being owed months of dues.
Those working in the printing press don’t draw fat salaries and don’t have a luxurious lifestyle like the media barons tend to maintain.
Ironically, those working in the printing press salaries must be equivalent to a daily meal expenditure for a media baron and not paying their dues is downright criminal.
Obviously, we are living in times of belt-tightening and to cut down on costs, we can drive inhumane wedges and deprive those poor people of their salaries.
Life can be brutally savage and what is unfolding is indeed very disturbing. The helplessness can add to our guilt conscience, but then we realize we ourselves aren’t superhero material to stave off such a crisis.
Many of these media organizations are being run by big shots and hold sway across the board and of course, they can’t be held accountable for their deeds.
The writing was always on the wall, recently I came across an article in the New York Times in which I was reading about the plans of Buzzfeed and how it stumbled and is trying to steer the ship in partnership with other media companies out of the crisis it is encumbered in.
We have several examples of how the print industry was disrupted by the internet and digital news platforms in the last two decades and they adapted to the change and made required adjustments to stay relevant and viable amidst stiff competition.
Of course, the adaptability and painful adjustments that owners of such entities may be required to undertake will hurt their wallets and, in all likelihood, put a limit to their extravagances.
However, as least bothered they would be in undertaking such sacrifices would be tantamount to suicide for them.
It’s all about protecting personal interests, as far the big titans remain unscathed from this so-called crisis, the culling of employees will continue unabated till the conclusion of cost-saving measures ends up being fully implemented.
NOTE: This doesn’t reflect the opinion of my employer and this blog is purely my take on the circumstances affecting the print and broadcast media.