Wall Street Journal, Univision/Fusion, Bloomberg, Gannett: It is layoff season among U.S. media properties, and a slow December Friday is a great time to announce an addition. And so, the Associated Press today is indicating that it is joining this glum shrinking movement.
“While AP makes every effort to cut costs elsewhere before affecting jobs, AP is laying off 25 staffers in the global News department this week,” reads a statement provided by AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton. “Like so many media companies, especially in the news business, AP must reduce expenses in order to continue to provide its objective, indispensable news report around the world.”
Just where the layoffs are landing is a bit unclear right now, though Politico is reporting that two of those affected work at the wire service’s Albany statehouse bureau.
That, in itself, is chilling news. Between 2003 and 2014, a Pew study found, the number of full-time newspaper statehouse reporters dropped by 35 percent, from nearly 500 to around 300. Should the shakeout continue, governors and state reps will have less and less trouble helping themselves to the elastic perquisites of goods and services available through taxpayer dollars. Everything, that is.
Back in the spring of 2015, Politico appeared poised to stanch the drain. Jim VandeHei, then the CEO of Politico, “We have decided all expansion,” noted VandeHei in a memo that laid out plans for a presence in a number of states. “We will follow with additional states as quickly as we can,” said the memo. In all, Politico now has representation in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and California. According to a spokesman for the site, there’s “nothing new to announce at this time.” VandeHei has since left Politico and is now launching a new site, Axios, to cover politics, business and technology.