On Monday, one-by-one, journalists with ink running through their veins will have difficult conversations with management. They’ll be told their experience, wisdom and writing skills are no longer needed. Some will be offered new jobs in a new building, far away from the culture the newspaper knows in the heart of downtown Syracuse. Keeping your job doesn’t mean keeping what you know — nothing will remain the same.
But it’s not journalism that’s changing. Journalists today are the same journalists 50 years ago. News gathering hasn’t changed — how it’s reported, has. Woodward and Bernstein weren’t sharing their stories on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. But the work they were doing behind the scenes — the work that made their news, their news, is still being done. But that’s all in jeopardy, and society is to blame. Not news companies, or journalists, or the Internet. Consumers of news are to blame.
News has become so engrained in our culture we think of it as a service; a service that, for the longest time, has come easily, cheap (or free) and in great convenience. But that’s all changing, because money is running out and news is getting expensive. People are angry they have to pay for websites, or sign in with a paid account to access news stories. They’re angry costs of newspapers are going up a nominal fee — still cheaper than a cup of daily coffee. They don’t realize the work it takes to put together the news, be it print or television. There’s no outrage when the journalists who put that product together have the newspaper they love — and live — decimated beneath them. Where’s the protests, the outcry, the anger over these decisions?
Instead, we’re left with a group of journalists who bring central New York the news they need (not necessarily want, all the time), who are going to be told their services are no longer needed. In actuality, central New York never needed their services more. Consumers just aren’t recognizing that.