Section: Editorial

Staff Editorial: A dire week for journalism

On Jan. 16, Condé Nast announced that it would be combining Pitchfork, the music criticism site, with GQ Magazine and laying off staff. On Jan. 18, Sports Illustrated laid off more than 100 employees — nearly its entire workforce — leaving many fearing for the publication’s future. And, on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times announced that it would lay off nearly 20% of its newsroom, another 100 journalists who will be without a job.

In the span of one week, pillars of journalism and cultural criticism fell, leaving a vacuum in their wake. Readers across the country are all the poorer for this. Sports Illustrated and Pitchfork have long been star-making publications, introducing readers to new artists and athletes. The LA Times services the second-largest metropolitan area in the United States and has done so for almost 150 years.  

Journalism and its centers of power are constantly shifting, but seismic changes of this past week’s scale are devastating to readers and writers alike. Pitchfork, Sports Illustrated and the LA Times were each sold in the past decade, and they are each now facing what may, in some cases, be existential threats. Baltimore Sun journalists fear that Maryland’s largest newspaper could follow in the footsteps of other publications after David D. Smith, the chairman of the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, purchased the paper. 

We acknowledge that to continue operating, these companies must be profitable. Still, these layoffs at legacy publications contribute to a troubling trend: journalism is dwindling, and declining readership is the reason. According to the Pew Research Center, “U.S. daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was 20.9 million for both weekday and Sunday, down 8% and 10% respectively from 2021.” This is consistent with general declines since the late 1980s and, notably, since the dot com bubble burst. If journalism outlets cannot operate without their parent companies consistently being in the red, there is a problem. 

Readers, now more than ever, should commit themselves to journalism instead of relying on clickbait and social media for news. Our culture relies on a populace educated by stories spanning from reports on the day’s pressing issues to profiles of the stars of tomorrow. As sites like X and Instagram play increasingly important roles in daily discourse, people should not discount the value of hard-earned and well-researched stories.

Sincerely,

Katie, Annalia and Audrey

This editorial was written by editors-in-chief Katie Sparvero ’25 and Audrey Baker ’25 and managing editor Annalia Fiore ’25. You can contact them at sparvero1@kenyon.edu, baker10@kenyon.edu and fiore1@kenyon.edu, respectively. 

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