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April 03, 2014 4:24 PM Yes, Journalism Is Still A Shrinking Profession

By Ed Kilgore

Just in case any of you have been misled by the new ventures being started by Nate Silver and Ezra Klein or by the associated job churn into thinking that American journalism is making a comeback, check out this news from New Jersey:

In a grim day of reckoning at the state’s largest newspaper, the owners of The Star-Ledger today said they were eliminating the jobs of approximately 167 people, including 25 percent of the newsroom.
The sweeping job loss was part of a plan announced last week in an effort to greatly reduce costs and combine resources by consolidating the operations of The Star-Ledger, along with its sister publications in New Jersey and its online partner, NJ.com, which also announced cutbacks today.
The Star-Ledger, which has won three Pulitzer Prizes and several national awards, currently has 750 employees, of which approximately 500 are non unionized. None of the cuts announced today will affect unionized personnel, who are covered under existing labor contracts.
The cuts will mean the loss of 40 of the 156 reporters, editors, photographers and support staff in The Star-Ledger newsroom, which had already seen a parade of people leaving in recent weeks over concerns about the paper’s future and the continuing fiscal pressures affecting newspapers across the country.

So if you’re in college and considering a journalism major, you’re a brave soul. I guess if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to grad school and get a master’s in international lobbying. Influence-peddling remains a growth industry for the foreseeable future.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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