Since the ascendency of automation, the internet, citizen journalists, social media, talk radio and cable news, by nearly all accounts, institutional journalism (aka the ‘mainstream media empire’) has had a rough couple of decades.
In fact, the fate of print media has been so dire that there is even a website called NewspaperDeathwatch.com which, true to its name, chronicles the decline of the nation’s newspapers.
Indeed, until very recently, the world of institutional journalism seemed so bleak that its future existence was beginning to be questioned.
“Across the country – though unevenly reported – we see new newsroom job losses likely counting into the high hundreds,” Politico reported in late November. “Newsroom employment at the nation’s 1,375 dailies could fall below 28,000, less than half of its high point in 1990.”
That has changed, however, with Donald Trump’s attacks on certain media outlets like the New York Times and CNN.
According to Grant Glickson, president of the News Guild, Local 31003—a union with 40% of its membership employed by the New York Times—“subscriptions are soaring as news organizations pour resources into political and investigative reporting.”
In a post to his members entitled “Fake News” Attacks Backfire as Journalists Dig for the Truth, Glickson wrote:
Far from discouraging or silencing journalists, the attacks are fueling a renaissance in newsrooms across the country. Morale is going up; talk of job cuts is going down.
Many of our members are among journalists getting national attention for their Trump coverage. They are doing us proud. Not only is their work exceptional, they are unfailingly civil and professional in the face of attacks on their character. They are not taking the bait.
By Glickson’s logic, the election of Donald Trump as President could not come at a better time. Like other unions, Glickson’s local union has lost a third of its membership in the last 15 years.
“Trump is the best thing to happen to the Times’ subscription strategy” New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet CNN’s Reliable Sources last month. “Every time he tweets it drives subscriptions wildly.”
Clearly, as much as institutional journalists may despise the Trump presidency, he appears to be giving them a better sense of job security than they’ve had in years.