The pandemic led to newsroom furloughs. Then protests started. Are reporters coming back?
Around 4 in the morning on May 31, after another night of walking miles with protesters in Memphis, documenting how the police treated (and sometimes mistreated) them and later learning of another incident, Commercial Appeal reporter Desiree Stennett tweeted this:
“Right now we can REALLY see what it means for a community when their journalists are forced to take furloughs. It means I can’t go to keep watch at the 201 Poplar. I can’t be there for my community. I hate it. Let @gannett know what it means to you to not have me there.”
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, furloughs, layoffs and closures took local journalists in the U.S. away from the critical work they provide. Add to those losses the 56% of newspaper jobs lost in the past decade, according to Pew Research.