May 19, 2020 - Economy & Business

Media cuts weigh on industry morale

Illustration: Axios/Sarah Grillo

Over 500 people in the U.S. news media were laid off last week, indicating that many companies' initial efforts at the start of the pandemic to avoid job cuts, like reducing executive pay, weren't sufficient to protect their work forces.

Why it matters: Layoffs in bulk can deeply injure any organization's psyche — particularly in the situation where companies end up doing it more than once, which is why often execs are advised to cut deeply once rather than minimize a first round.

By the numbers: Layoffs at Vice (155 people), Quartz (80 people), The Economist (90 people), Condé Nast (100 people) and furloughs at Buzzfeed (68) and Condé Nast (another 100) were posted last week. Hundreds more are expected in coming months.

Between the lines: Startups and innovators lured talent and raised money under a "we are inventing the future of media" banner. But now they're shifting to survival mode and will need to find new ways to bolster morale.

  • Of course, at a moment like this journalists who still have jobs are grateful to be employed. But seeing colleagues and friends get the axe can change their sense of identification with, and commitment to, their employers.

The big picture: Thousands of other jobs in the news media industry have been lost at the local and global levels. Student internships and fellowships have mostly been cancelled, hindering younger journalists from experience and exposure within the industry.

Our thought bubble: The digital era blew up the old business model of the news industry, and it has spent 25 years searching for a new one.

  • But instead of finding a lasting solution, the industry took a long ride on a pendulum swinging between ad revenue and subscriptions income. It bet heavily on the first during flush times and rushed wildly to the second when recessions hit.
  • Because the industry, now entering the third or fourth round of this cycle, doesn't seem able to change its behavior, that pendulum now feels like a wrecking ball.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases no COVID-19 patients in hospital after reporting another day of zero cases. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But health officials decided to include her death in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
  8. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  9. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  10. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.