The spreading of Coronavirus has impacted many aspects of our society. With the strict stay home order around the globe, I wonder how the news industry has been able to carry out their work while battling the pandemic.
To begin with, travel and movement restrictions have not only made it extremely hard for journalists to report but also made it harder for deliverers to bring newspapers to people’s front porch. Many news companies still make a majority of their money from print editions. The delivery of daily newspapers has been harder due to travel restrictions and even if paper deliverers are allowed to do so, It would be especially dangerous if they become virus carriers and spread the virus to houses along their way.
What’s more, the cancellation of outdoor events related to Journalism causes many news companies to lose a lot of money, which takes up a large percentage of their annual revenue. For instance, The Stranger, an alt-weekly based in Seattle that generates 90% of its revenue from local gatherings at concerts, bars, restaurants, and other public locations is going through serious financial difficulties and struggling to survive due to the rampant pandemic in the city. The Stranger had to stop their print edition and lay off many employees. The Stranger is only one of the many alt-weeklies that are having a hard time. According to Motherjones.com, close to 30 alt-weeklies are facing severe financial losses and have to cut salaries, lay off staff, and scale back publication.
Since, newspapers generate a lot of their income from advertisements, the decline in advertising is detrimental to the news industry. Advertisers avoid having their ads next to coronavirus stories, which takes up a large portion of the news articles today. Furthermore, companies like hotels, airlines, restaurants, movie studios, and cruises that are already hurt by the virus are not going to have a lot of money to invest in advertisements. This negative impact on both the advertisement and news companies could ultimately lead to national and global economic recessions.
Though the news industry is facing numerous obstacles and uncertainties now, some newspapers are still optimistic about their future. According to cjr.org, some news outlets believe that freeing up content about coronavirus in their newspapers now could help them to reach more readers, who are likely to become paid subscribers later. Thus, I believe news companies that survive the pandemic will thrive and we should make some effort to support these news outlets that keep us informed about our world.
Photo credit: chestertonhouse.co.uk