The latest blood sport? Culling regional journalists…

March 16, 2009

Stunning, shocking and eye-opening post in today’s media Guardian regarding the swathing cuts in regional journalism across the UK in recent months from Jon Slattery.

It is not pleasant reading – all the more reason to read it.

And then read it again.

The true state of British journalism is worrying indeed – those of us working inside it have known this for far longer than the recession-filled, fear-laden six months in which the Public has become fully aware of the current economic situation.

The stream-lining of newsrooms across the regions has appalled many of us, largely due to the very nature of the ways in which management and number-crunchers have dispatched editorial staff.

At times, it has seemed as efficient as a falcon culling a flaying pheasant in the fields. Not pretty, brutal, and with the prospect of a bloody kill.

I am talking about the falcon here, not the number-crunchers reducing the journo count across the country, by the way, but of course seeing a pheasant ripped open for sport is not an appropriate likeness to a newsroom’s heart being decimated by management to reduce the running costs on a failing, dated business model, is it? Is it?!

The excellent Guardian article from Slattery points out that there has been an influx of journos looking to organisations such as Councils for in-house work, and a drift to PR agencies by journalists and editors who would never have considered anything other than being committed Hacks for the rest of their writing careers this time last year.

But the times have, and are still, changing. Ok, so there could be marginal salvation ahead in magazines, online portals and the growth of the Internet and associated social media platforms requiring professional content providers. But will journos want these roles?

Adapt and survive is increasingly the message. If you don’t, watch out for the incoming falcon.

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