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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

Are recent newspaper job losses due to the credit crunch or a general shift in media?

I receive my daily Holdthefontpage news alerts with mild anticipation. How many redundancies today? In the last week, North West publisher CN Group shed 30 jobs and will be selling off two radio stations, Newsquest editors of York titles, the Daily Press, weekly Gazette and Herald face redundancy, and three sub-editors at Torquay’s Herald Express could face redundancy as well. This all from just one daily news alert.

At a Cardiff journalism school lecture this week, Rick Waghorn of said these redundancies are part of a general shift in media. He explains how readers have moved online and no longer need their local hard copy and sub-editors are becoming redundant as general page templates are being used instead.

This is not the first time I have heard this. Four weeks before Mr Waghorn’s comments, Matthew Yeoman of Custom Communication, said: “The bad news is this business is crumbling around us. Social media is killing the advertising industry and the media industry needs this money.

“The media world is changing and people are having to rethink their businesses.”

Whilst there is no doubt that the media world is changing and people are being made redundant, I challenge the view that this is simple cause and effect.

It is all too convenient that the people who hold these opinions have online media businesses, businesses which would flourish if this really was the primary reason for all these job losses.

I would argue instead that the state of the economy is the cause. Mortgage rates go up, people rein in their spending, companies do not receive as much revenue, advertising budgets get slashed and newspapers bear the brunt – redundancies are the clear effect of this.

The Daily Telegraph office- embracing the shift in media

The Daily Telegraph offices embracing the shift in media

The shift in media is being used as a scape-goat, bosses too proud to admit that they have been affected by the recession. In truth, the media had already started to shift a long time before the credit crunch and for a while newspapers embraced it: the Daily Telegraph rearranged their office (see image) and created MyTelegraph, websites were launched at most local papers and the BBC embraced all sorts of online technologies (live streaming, tailored news alerts etc).

In all this doom and gloom the shift in media offers a shinning light of hope. If the cause is the recession rather than a shift in media, then this is but a short term problem. When the economy picks up (yes it will happen eventually) the shift in media will open up a whole new range of job opportunities in both online and print. Not convinced? Well, let us wait and see.


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