More than 250 business journalism jobs lost in first six months
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
More than 250 business journalists lost their jobs due to media closings, layoffs or newsroom buyouts in the first six months of 2009, according to an analysis of the industry by the Carolina Business News Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The layoffs include the entire staff of Conde Nast Portfolio, a two-year-old business glossy that closed its doors in late April. An estimated 80 journalists on its staff lost their jobs, including editor Joanne Lipman. Some of the Web staff kept their jobs when the Portfolio site was taken over by American City Business Journals.
The biggest cuts in the past six months, however, occurred at Bloomberg, where 100 reporters and editors in the company’s TV and radio operations lost their jobs in February.
The total number only includes layoffs that have been confirmed by media outlets or by current and former employees of media outlets where jobs were cut. We believe that the actual number is higher than 250.
Among daily newspapers, the business news desks at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Rocky Mountain News and Tucson Citizen were eliminated when those papers stopped printing. A dozen lost their jobs in Denver, while six business desk positions were cut in Seattle.
Buyouts affected the business desk of the San Francisco Chronicle, where two reporters accepted the paper’s offer and two others were laid off, and at the Boston Globe, where three staffers took the buyout and at least one reporter was laid off.
At the Fresno Bee in California, business editor Mike Nemeth lost his job as part of a newsroom downsizing, as did Lexington Herald-Leader business editor Jeff Beach.
On the bright side, Detroit Free Press business editor Randy Essex told me this past week that the business desk there was spared any cuts when the paper laid off 22.
The base is hard to determine, but I estimate that there are at least 8,000 working business journalists in the United States. So, annualized, the losses would be about a 6 percent cut.