It’s no news that the publishing industry, and by extension journalism as a massive part of that, are having a rough go of things. And while all forms of journalism from the front page on through classifieds and beyond were bound to be affected, it seems like there have been a few recent rapid fire muzzle shots to the beast that is music journalism.
On November 10th, the The Daily Swarm (via TheWrap.com) reported that The Hollywood Reporter and 41 of its Nielsen entertainment sister publications would be sold to James Finkelstein’s News Communications Inc., owner of “Who’s Who”; among those publications is Billboard. While the sale would have the most impact on the Reporter, which has suffered several rounds of layoffs and might see the end of its print edition, the deal only went down thanks to lagging sales on all fronts. An undisclosed source called Billboard’s sales “so-so”. The future of each publication remains up in the air for now, but it is likely that changes could be made to the publications.
And if things couldn’t get worse, we learned via Black Book Magazine on the same day that everyone’s favorite music/gossip/all around universal disser blog Idolator.com’s lovable editor/lone blogger, Maura Johnston, is leaving. Johnston, who has had the longest run at the site, is extremely well liked (despite the occasional disagreement) for both her humor and biting wit and honesty. While this isn’t quite as doom and gloom as the Billboard news, it’s a big blow for the legitimacy of blogs if someone like Johnston decides to move on to greener pastures. As to where said pastures are, Johnston’s farewell address was sketchy with the details, but she will continue with music writing.
And in the biggest blow of the three, The Guardian has reported that its parent company Guardian News & Media will cut over 100 of its 1,700 editorial and commercial jobs stemming from the publishing giant’s “unsustainable losses”. Those losses include over £100 million less revenue from fiscal years 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. With no specific areas being targeted, the entire editorial side is open to cuts. Like many others in the business, GNM is offering buy-outs to avoid layoffs and is still pressing that this decision will not effect “core journalism” nor their digital presence. This news also comes after the company saved £25 from previous staff cuts.
In other words, things ain’t that great right now.