In a pathetically misguided attempt to save itself from oblivion, the sinking ship of the traditional publishing industry has taken to purging young staff — especially if they happen to be white and male.
Lukobe sent me an AP article, the title of which, “APME survey: Newspaper cuts clip younger workers,” is somewhat misleading. In fact, if you read the text it is pretty clear who is getting the axe:
Most of the survey respondents said cultivating an ethnically diverse staff remains a high priority, even as their newsrooms shrink.
The more recent survey by the Associated Press Managing Editors didn’t seek to quantify the percentage of minorities currently working at newspapers. But diversity isn’t just about ethnicity, said Tom Kearney, managing editor of the Stowe Reporter, a weekly newspaper in Vermont.
“Because Vermont is soooooo white, diversity doesn’t involve race as much as it does gender and background,” Kearney wrote in his survey response.
“We did not have enough diversity to begin with,” wrote Lyle Muller, managing editor of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Cutting positions put us more at risk. Meanwhile, our community is becoming more diverse so we are getting farther behind in our efforts to reflect it.”
Steerike three! You’re out white boy!
Before anyone gets too hot and bothered about this blatant discrimination, I should point out that newspaper management is stupid. The vast majority of readers are white (Asians, for all intents and purposes, mesh with the white demographic). Blacks see newspapers as “white” publications and have never been a core demographic in their market, and many, many Hispanics don’t even read English, whether or not they are able.
Furthermore, women have already reached saturation in traditional media. I can’t see how adding even more women could do anything to increase readership. In fact, my money is on the opposite effect.
Although this trend of firing young white men at newspapers may be frustrating to readers, I actually welcome it, because it will simply hasten the newspapers’ demise. The sooner the old media goes down to its watery grave the better. Unless the papers can import Hindus and Chinese as replacements, they won’t even be able to make a decent transition to digital media, and from what I’ve heard, insourced workers tend to have some serious problems with the English language — not a good thing for communications companies.
So I see this as a wonderful opportunity. Young men have to quit seeing themselves as having a place in the system, and instead seek to beat it. The newspapers are reeling, and this is the perfect time to stand up and go toe-to-toe with them. When it really comes down to it, all they have is an audience, and that audience is dwindling. Time to take it away from them.