A very experienced former regional editor told me how he believed some newspaper editors were being forced to destroy everything they had worked for.
He said: “I’m appalled at how the industry is being butchered by some international newspaper conglomerates in a vain bid to maintain unrealistic profit levels. The last time we went through a recession, we made the cost savings, but we left enough of the business to come back to when things improved. This time around I fear it’s gone too far for that.
“I know there are regional editors out there who were passionate about the importance of the regional press and the service they provided to readers.
“Now some of them are being forced to destroy everything they’ve worked for. The silly hours and the impact on their families has counted for nothing. The editions and the district offices, the court reporters and the political experts have all gone, as has the very notion of trying to deliver breaking news or digging deeper into the murky depths of the often corrupt local establishment.
“They’re forced to sit in meetings telling lowly-paid senior reporters with families and mortgages that they’re going to be made redundant when they know that handsome profits are still being made, but they have to do it in the hope of hanging onto their own jobs. The hypocrisy and guilt is eating them up.
“This grim situation affects everyone. One newspaper editor of my acquaintance tells me how he has to pause on his doorstep on the way home every night and compose his features into a smile. If he goes into the house looking glum, his wife immediately panics that he’s lost his job and the daytime stress then carries on into the night.
“And when they finally do lose their jobs in their late 40s through no fault of their own, they’ve got nowhere to turn. There’s simply nothing out there. Six weeks ago they were an editor, a man of significant substance in their community; today they’re signing on.”