By CRAIG MEDRED / CRAIGMEDRED.NEWS
Alaska’s largest newspaper is again downsizing, but it is understandable if you missed this news.
The email to ADN.com viewers from editor David Hulen required fluency in Orwellian doublespeak.
One could easily have taken at face value his pitch that “ADN has mobilized to cover the coronavirus crisis” and missed the contradiction that followed:
“We’ve had to temporarily cut back hours and pay for all employees, along with some painful layoffs.”
A reduction in force through layoffs, shrinking man hours and pay cuts is not a mobilization. It is what the military would call a demobilization.
Doublespeak – from George Orwell’s dark vision of the future in the novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four – is the description for language turned on its head. Demobilizing the staff means mobilizing the coverage. Retreating means attacking. Doing less means giving you more.
And mainstream journalism wonders why it has a credibility problem.
The sad thing is Anchorage Daily News staffers appear to have been working hard through the COVID-19 crisis. And you can expect those left to continue to work hard despite what is said to be a significant cut in pay driven by a drop in advertising revenue due to the pandemic.
With bars and restaurants closed, events canceled, the upcoming tourist season headed for the rocks, supermarkets trying to discourage hoarding rather than attract customers, and health care professionals avoiding elective surgeries while helping the sick, key parts of the advertising base are gone.
And all the commerce that has moved online doesn’t really need the newspaper or ADN.com. Once the shop of your choice gets your email, it can cut out the middleman and go straight to you.
This might be the darkest hour for journalism as older Americans have known it. I fear an old journalism friend who thought early on that COVID-19 might save the business was badly wrong.
“People need reliable sources in the midst of this,” he said.
He was right about that. The problem is there are likely a lot of people who are doing what I am doing on a personal level, and that is turning to professional sources instead of journalists.
Read about how Craig Medred is getting his coronavirus information at his website: CraigMedred.news