OPINION: As journalists lose their jobs, we need you to care


headshot_Nick Hunter

Nicholas Hunter

This week, a lot of journalists lost their jobs.

Gannett, a media company that owns more than 100 newspapers across the United States, laid off a slew of journalists from a number of media outlets, including the Indianapolis Star, the Arizona Republic, the Tennessean, The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the Fort Myers News-Press and USA Today’s travel section, just to name a few.

The same day, Buzzfeed announced it would be laying off 15 percent of its news staff (which accounts for about 200 people, according to a Washington Post report). The next day, Huffington Post announced it would be cutting its opinion and health teams — about 20 more people.

Simply put, it’s haunting to see. I’m young, ready to graduate and trying to hone my skills best I can before I wander off into the Great Unknown of “real” adulthood and have to start looking for jobs.

But as I gain my bearings and figure out what type of journalist I want to be — what I care passionately about enough to spend my days and nights thinking, talking, writing about — I read these stories and it becomes apparent there might not be many job opportunities on the other side of the commencement stage.

What’s frustrating about this development is that there’s no lack of work in need of being done: We are in the midst of a presidency that has declared journalists the “enemy of the people.”

The government was shut down and rich people are lambasting furloughed federal employees for not taking out loans or needing unemployment benefits.

Poverty, corruption, racism, violence, war, disease, hate and countless other abuses of power are ever-present, and it’s the job of journalists to hold those in power accountable and force them to address these injustices.

It is our job to inform communities of the good and the bad going on in their cities. Whether it’s an incoming storm warning or a firefighter saving kittens from an exceptionally tall tree, we keep citizens informed of the day-to-day happenings in their towns.

We face the daily challenges of hunting down sources, filing public records requests and meeting deadlines. That’s the grind we all sign up for.

But when we are faced with these financial challenges, when we are being laid off because the news department doesn’t bring enough in, or there’s yet another paper merger and the “fat” needs cut, then we lose the ability to focus on our work.

Good journalists lost their jobs in these layoffs, and now they need to find other means to survive before they can do what they do best again.

At The Kent Stater and KentWired, we deliver the news fee-free. Just like any other newsroom, we are far from perfect, but we care deeply about what we do and work night and day to get the news to our readers.

We don’t want your pity or the money out of your wallet. We want you to care — care about the stories we write, the issues we break down, the opinions we write. And we want you to care about the work we do.

No matter what rhetoric comes from those in power, remember that journalism, at any scale, is what keeps you informed and holds those in power accountable.

Nicholas Hunter is a senior reporter. Contact him at [email protected].