file photo by Boyd Loving
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, in what can only be seen as a death knell for the newspaper industry “journalists” at the Bergen Record , the Daily Record and New Jersey Herald all owned by Gannett voted overwhelmingly to unionize.
The News Guild of New York said Friday the vote was 59-4 in favor of the union, which will be called the Record Guild. The results come only a week after the New York Daily News, owned by Tribune Publishing, voted 55 to 3 to be represented by the Guild. In that case, it was a return to Guild representation which had ceased at some point about 20 years earlier when then owner Mort Zuckerman refused to negotiate a new contract.
Gannett bought The Record and North Jersey Media Group in 2016, and already owned the Daily Record. The Herald came into the company portfolio two years ago when GateHouse Media and Gannett merged.
Nothing like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic . Like the rest of the media the US newspaper industry already faces an enormous credibility gap. The industry has been under very significant decline since the dawn of the internet age. A reader suggested to the Ridgewood blog , “Fake News is unionizing” or is it just a desperate attempt to save jobs in a dying industry .
U.S. newspaper circulation fell in 2018 to its lowest level since 1940, the first year with available data. Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was an estimated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018. Those numbers were down 8% and 9%, respectively, from the previous year. Both figures are now below their lowest recorded levels, though weekday circulation first passed this threshold in 2013.
Newspaper revenues declined dramatically between 2008 and 2018. Advertising revenue fell from $37.8 billion in 2008 to $14.3 billion in 2018, a 62% decline.
Newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers dropped by nearly half (47%) between 2008 and 2018, from about 71,000 workers to 38,000. Newspapers drove a broader decline in overall U.S. newsroom employment during that span.
Layoffs continue to pummel U.S. newspapers. Roughly a quarter (27%) of papers with an average Sunday circulation of 50,000 or more experienced layoffs in 2018. The layoffs came on top of the roughly one-third (31%) of papers in the same circulation range that experienced layoffs in 2017. What’s more, the number of jobs typically cut by newspapers in 2018 tended to be higher than in the year before.
Americans have little awareness of the financial challenges facing local newsrooms, according to a late 2018 survey. A majority of U.S. adults (71%) believe their local news media are doing well financially, even as only 14% say they have paid for local news themselves in the past year, whether through subscribing, donating or becoming a member.