And on the seventh day, Paul Godfrey and the rest of his Postmedia minions in suits gave themselves a big, fat bonus for a job well done.
It goes something like that, right?
I hope you'll forgive my Bible-like allegory above: but sometimes it does feel like the people running media companies believe they are gods. Because a mere two days after announcing that Postmedia would cut 90 jobs across the country, the news came out that Godfrey and his suits had given themselves $1 million "for meeting certain financial targets." Wouhou.
Postmedia, in case you may not have heard, is Canada's largest publisher of daily newspapers; this most recent cut was the second of the year, prompting the question of just how long the network will hold on to that distinction.
That's Andrew, friend of mine living in Toronto. Andrew said this after he learned about the cuts at Postmedia, a mere two and a half years after graduating from journalism school. That's where I met him, in J-School; at supposedly our country's finest of the sort, Ryerson University's Journalism School, might I add.
A mere two+ years later, neither one of us are really working in journalism. Or rather, if we're not working in journalism in a traditional sense, it's because the Godfreys of this world have made sure that this simply isn't possible anymore.
Though maybe that's giving them too much credit.
Journalism is in crisis, as I'm sure you've heard/read before. The profession has been seen as a watchdog of our society, one that keeps those accountable who otherwise wouldn't. But in 2016, that vision doesn't seem feasible for the majority of media businesses: because, yes, media organizations are businesses and should be run as businesses, and we should stop pretending otherwise. In that sense, as infuriating as it may sound, the Godfreys of the media world do deserve their bonuses.
The crisis is that the general population has always underpaid for its journalism: if reporting is and was done for the greater good, it didn't make sense to make those whom it was supposed to benefit to pay for it. Typically, journalism had managed to foot the bills by relying on advertisers.
But not anymore.
Internet has changed everything, allowing just about anyone to create content that can be 1) compelling, 2) free (or close enough), 3) important and 4) timely. In large part, journalism is in crisis because it has been slow to adapt to this new reality. Because it hasn't been willing enough to revisit its idealistic vision of itself. Now, it bleeds and one hopes we'll find a way to stop the bleeding. Until then, we cut jobs.
Originally published in my newsletter.