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Dire days – A Senate hearing on media consolidation in Washington state brings up some startling numbers

 

The Washington state Senate held a hearing Feb. 7 to discuss media consolidation and its impact on jobs and public information.

Government officials, industry experts and journalists voiced their opinions on topics ranging from corporate mergers, to job loss and wage decreases, to the loss of local news available to the public.

The state lost over half its newspaper jobs in the last ten years falling from 7,218 jobs in Jan 2007 to 3,609 jobs in December 2016, according to the state Employment Security Department’s Nick Streuli.

Later, Seattle Times reporter and Society of Professional Journalists’ board member, Mike Rosenberg, pointed out the number of journalists fell even lower dropping from 1,300 in Washington a dozen years ago to currently 750.

Concurrently the number of internet publishing jobs rose to 12,294 during the same time period, four times as many jobs then there are in newspaper publishing. These jobs are primarily software developers and IT positions.

Also discussed was the possible merger of Sinclair Broadcasting with the Tribune Company and the FCC rule changes and how that could potentially effect broadcast news in the state.

 

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