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Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The media industry's current round of cuts and consolidation is accelerating. Sizable layoffs at Buzzfeed, Gannett and Verizon Media (home of AOL, Yahoo, HuffPost and others) were announced Wednesday, totaling over 1,000 jobs cut.

Why it matters: If the headlines signal anything, it's that the news media will continue to struggle to find a sustainable business model in an advertising and attention ecosystem dominated by tech companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix.

By the numbers:

  • Verizon Media will cut roughly 800 jobs, or 7% of its global workforce across the organization, as well as certain brands and products. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told Axios earlier this month that each of the company's three units, including the media business, needed to be able to stand on their own. (A company spokesperson later clarified to Axios that Verizon Media Group will still have access to Verizon customer data when customers opt in to provide such information.)
  • Buzzfeed will cut roughly 250 jobs, or roughly 15% of its workforce, including jobs within its news division.
  • Gannett cut over 20 jobs Wednesday, per Poynter, with more expected as the company tries to shed costs amid buyout talks.

The big picture: The struggle to create businesses that can support a healthy news environment is universal across the information ecosystem. It exists at the local, national and global levels, and across digital, print and television operations.

Events in the past year that underscore this reality:

  • the cheap sales of websites that had raised tons of money, like Mic.com and Mashable
  • big layoffs at digital properties like Vox and Refinery29
  • Massive write-downs of media properties owned by bigger companies, like Vice and Verizon Media

Be smart: Policymakers around the world want to address the problem, but most are still struggling to find workable solutions.

  • In Europe, lawmakers have proposed a copyright directive that would force tech giants to pay publishers for linking to their content, but the directive experienced a setback five days ago after member states failed to agree on some rules.
  • In the U.S., regulators at the FCC has rolled back decades-old broadcast ownership rules to allow local news companies to more easily merger to be better able to scale and potentially compete with some of their tech counterparts.
  • The U.S. newspaper industry is still waiting on Congress for a proposed temporary safe harbor that would allow it to bargain as a group against big tech companies.

Bottom line: Many news companies are struggling to find sustainable business models in the digital era. There's no sign it's getting any easier.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

New clues emerge on long COVID

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The presence of certain autoantibodies or high amounts of coronavirus RNA in the blood could be indicators a patient has a higher chance of developing long COVID, according to a new study in the journal Cell.

  • Other factors include a person having Type 2 diabetes or the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus.

Biden says he'll make Supreme Court pick by end of February

President Biden speaks on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday said he will announce the nominee for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's replacement by the end of February.

Driving the news: Biden also affirmed that he will nominate a Black woman to replace Breyer, saying "it's long overdue."

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

State of play: Breyer said his retirement will take effect when the court "rises for the summer recess (typically late June or early July) assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed."