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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

Jul 28, 2020 - Economy & Business

Scoop: Industry Dive's first big acquisition

Photo: Brian Tucker/Industry Dive

Industry Dive, a business journalism company, is acquiring the marketing arm of NewsCred, a global technology company, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: Industry Dive is a niche B2B media company, but it's long been profitable, and it's pretty sizable.

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.