CNN’s Headline News may seem thoroughly old-fashioned now that it’s dead. But its demise is a reminder of the creeping nature of media obsolescence.
Media Winter is here once more, and it is getting ugly. It seems as though every news giant is shrinking toward 2023 through end-of-year layoffs, hiring freezes, or otherwise Dickensian austerity. Text chains and Slack channels are bursting with farewells and expressions of uncertainty about the future.
Industry veterans will tell you they’ve come to expect these Christmas-time cutbacks. The Gannett newspaper chain is laying off scores of local and national journalists. NPR is looking for ways to save at least $10 million. The Washington Post is ending its Sunday magazine. CNN, where I was an anchor until August, is cutting several hundred jobs.
As usual, explanations vary. The advertising marketplace is softening. Economic headwinds are worsening. Shareholder demands are unforgiving. But the effect is always the same: contraction, lost livelihoods, diminished brands, fewer outlets for both reporters and consumers.