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      新冠疫情期間慘遭裁員,美國媒體人艱難自救

      新冠疫情期間慘遭裁員,美國媒體人艱難自救

      Nicole Goodkind 2021年03月16日
      經常性的大規模裁員已經成為美國媒體行業的家常便飯。

      美國兩家大型線上刊物《赫芬頓郵報》(HuffPost)與Buzzfeed曾經宣布雙方將于2月16日合并。3月9日,也就是合并不到一個月的時間,BuzzFeed的首席執行官喬納·佩雷蒂向其雇員發出通知,47名《赫芬頓郵報》的美國雇員(共190名)將被解雇,而且《赫芬頓郵報》加拿大分社(HuffPost Canada)將徹底關閉。

      裁員的消息讓雇員們大吃一驚,據報道,3月9日上午雇員們受邀參加了一個在線視頻會議,當時參會的登陸密碼是“spr!ngisH3r3”(春天來了)。會議期間,他們得知自己要到下午1點之后才會收到是否會被解雇的電子郵件通知。

      與此同時,按照在新冠疫情期間形成的慣例,其他記者同行則需要開始思考,采用何種方法為新失業同僚的借酒消愁買單。

      即便是在新冠疫情肆虐、失業率暴增至前所未有的水平之前,新聞行業便已經進入嚴重的衰退階段。不幸的是,經常性的大規模裁員已經成為了記者辦公室生活中的家常便飯。美國新聞行業就業率在2008年至2019年期間下滑了23%,新聞報紙行業的就業跌幅尤為慘重,達到了約50%。

      隨著裁員變得越來越普遍,新失業記者開始宣布他們準備聚集的酒吧,而在其他刊物工作的朋友則會給其打電話,承擔一部分酒錢,甚至給他們送一份比薩。這個流程被稱為(也很像)一個非常喧鬧的夢醒時分,而且在宣傳項目記者中十分常見。

      這一次,《赫芬頓郵報》的工會委員會成員諾拉·比特-提蒙斯在推特(Twitter)上創建了Venmo基金,并加以宣傳。在下午三點左右,她已經收到了近一萬美元的捐贈,而且制定了在當天下午適用于疫情環境的小酌計劃,此舉讓人們感到紐約市格外明媚,像春天一樣。她指出,這些錢將分為兩部分:一部分將進入一個為新失業雇員設立的自我照顧基金,而另一部分并非只可以用于購買啤酒。這意味著每一位前任雇員都將收到相當一部分能夠隨意使用的資金,不過,基金鼓勵他們用這筆資金為自己尋找快樂和關愛。

      《赫芬頓郵報》工會的成員(其中有33名成員,占到近30%的比例,在3月9日失去了工作)還為如今正在尋找工作的記者整理了一份列有工作機會和合適聯系人的清單,因為疫情期間的就業機會對記者來說異常難找。

      2020年,媒體裁員的速度創歷史新高,原因在于疫情導致眾多刊物賴以生存的廣告營收出現了下滑。

      說到新聞行業所面臨的困難,需要指責的東西太多了,例如:誤導性新聞視頻充斥的互聯網和社交媒體、糟糕的商業決策,以及將刊物稱為億萬富翁的寵物項目等等。然而,沒有哪條有關媒體現狀的新聞可以阻止推特上不斷出現的聲音:“我剛剛被公司裁了,正在尋找自由職業工作?!?/p>

      3月9日,佩雷蒂告訴雇員,《赫芬頓郵報》去年虧損超過2000萬美元,裁員旨在讓公司回歸“快速盈利軌道”。據稱,佩雷蒂曾經對雇員說:“BuzzFeed的虧損額太大了,我們調整了公司策略以及規模。這是一個困難、痛苦的決定,但如今我們擁有了比以往任何時候都更強大的業務。我們希望《赫芬頓郵報》回歸其實力巔峰,而且我們將運用我們所學以及所積累的一切來實現這一目標?!?/p>

      從組織構架來講,《郝芬頓郵報》工會是東部美國編劇協會(Writers Guild of America, East)的一部分,該工會反對佩雷蒂的決定。成員在一則聲明中寫道:“我們感到很受傷而且很憤怒,尤其是在經歷了一年的疫情恢復以及居家辦公之后,而且此時距離《赫芬頓郵報》被BuzzFeed收購僅有不到一個月的時間。我們從未獲得過一個能夠證明自身價值的公平機會?!?/p>

      雖然丟了工作還可以再找,但丟失一份一直在引導日常生活、甚至在全球疫情期間(盡管還存在著深深的孤獨、焦慮和經濟陣痛)提供目標感的工作可能尤為令人難以接受?!逗辗翌D郵報》的員工當前并沒有應對這種沮喪情緒和失業壓力的傳統渠道。他們希望這些基金和聯系清單可以在其失業后替代傳統意義上同事以及親人所能夠提供的那種親密無間的撫慰。(財富中文網)

      譯者:馮豐

      審校:夏林

      美國兩家大型線上刊物《赫芬頓郵報》(HuffPost)與Buzzfeed曾經宣布雙方將于2月16日合并。3月9日,也就是合并不到一個月的時間,BuzzFeed的首席執行官喬納·佩雷蒂向其雇員發出通知,47名《赫芬頓郵報》的美國雇員(共190名)將被解雇,而且《赫芬頓郵報》加拿大分社(HuffPost Canada)將徹底關閉。

      裁員的消息讓雇員們大吃一驚,據報道,3月9日上午雇員們受邀參加了一個在線視頻會議,當時參會的登陸密碼是“spr!ngisH3r3”(春天來了)。會議期間,他們得知自己要到下午1點之后才會收到是否會被解雇的電子郵件通知。

      與此同時,按照在新冠疫情期間形成的慣例,其他記者同行則需要開始思考,采用何種方法為新失業同僚的借酒消愁買單。

      即便是在新冠疫情肆虐、失業率暴增至前所未有的水平之前,新聞行業便已經進入嚴重的衰退階段。不幸的是,經常性的大規模裁員已經成為了記者辦公室生活中的家常便飯。美國新聞行業就業率在2008年至2019年期間下滑了23%,新聞報紙行業的就業跌幅尤為慘重,達到了約50%。

      隨著裁員變得越來越普遍,新失業記者開始宣布他們準備聚集的酒吧,而在其他刊物工作的朋友則會給其打電話,承擔一部分酒錢,甚至給他們送一份比薩。這個流程被稱為(也很像)一個非常喧鬧的夢醒時分,而且在宣傳項目記者中十分常見。

      這一次,《赫芬頓郵報》的工會委員會成員諾拉·比特-提蒙斯在推特(Twitter)上創建了Venmo基金,并加以宣傳。在下午三點左右,她已經收到了近一萬美元的捐贈,而且制定了在當天下午適用于疫情環境的小酌計劃,此舉讓人們感到紐約市格外明媚,像春天一樣。她指出,這些錢將分為兩部分:一部分將進入一個為新失業雇員設立的自我照顧基金,而另一部分并非只可以用于購買啤酒。這意味著每一位前任雇員都將收到相當一部分能夠隨意使用的資金,不過,基金鼓勵他們用這筆資金為自己尋找快樂和關愛。

      《赫芬頓郵報》工會的成員(其中有33名成員,占到近30%的比例,在3月9日失去了工作)還為如今正在尋找工作的記者整理了一份列有工作機會和合適聯系人的清單,因為疫情期間的就業機會對記者來說異常難找。

      2020年,媒體裁員的速度創歷史新高,原因在于疫情導致眾多刊物賴以生存的廣告營收出現了下滑。

      說到新聞行業所面臨的困難,需要指責的東西太多了,例如:誤導性新聞視頻充斥的互聯網和社交媒體、糟糕的商業決策,以及將刊物稱為億萬富翁的寵物項目等等。然而,沒有哪條有關媒體現狀的新聞可以阻止推特上不斷出現的聲音:“我剛剛被公司裁了,正在尋找自由職業工作?!?/p>

      3月9日,佩雷蒂告訴雇員,《赫芬頓郵報》去年虧損超過2000萬美元,裁員旨在讓公司回歸“快速盈利軌道”。據稱,佩雷蒂曾經對雇員說:“BuzzFeed的虧損額太大了,我們調整了公司策略以及規模。這是一個困難、痛苦的決定,但如今我們擁有了比以往任何時候都更強大的業務。我們希望《赫芬頓郵報》回歸其實力巔峰,而且我們將運用我們所學以及所積累的一切來實現這一目標?!?/p>

      從組織構架來講,《郝芬頓郵報》工會是東部美國編劇協會(Writers Guild of America, East)的一部分,該工會反對佩雷蒂的決定。成員在一則聲明中寫道:“我們感到很受傷而且很憤怒,尤其是在經歷了一年的疫情恢復以及居家辦公之后,而且此時距離《赫芬頓郵報》被BuzzFeed收購僅有不到一個月的時間。我們從未獲得過一個能夠證明自身價值的公平機會?!?/p>

      雖然丟了工作還可以再找,但丟失一份一直在引導日常生活、甚至在全球疫情期間(盡管還存在著深深的孤獨、焦慮和經濟陣痛)提供目標感的工作可能尤為令人難以接受?!逗辗翌D郵報》的員工當前并沒有應對這種沮喪情緒和失業壓力的傳統渠道。他們希望這些基金和聯系清單可以在其失業后替代傳統意義上同事以及親人所能夠提供的那種親密無間的撫慰。(財富中文網)

      譯者:馮豐

      審校:夏林

      HuffPost and Buzzfeed, two large online publications, announced they would be merging on Feb. 16. On March 9, less than one month later, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti notified staff that 47 of the 190 U.S. HuffPost employees would be laid off, and HuffPost Canada would be shut down entirely.

      The layoffs came as a surprise to employees, who were reportedly invited to an online video meeting on March 9 morning where the password "spr!ngisH3r3" (spring is here) was required for entry. During the meeting, they were told that they would have to wait until 1 p.m. to see if they received an email informing them of their termination.

      In the meantime, fellow journalists got to work honoring what has become a now common tradition, updated for the pandemic: They began devising ways to pay for the drinks of their newly unemployed comrades.

      Even before the COVID-19 pandemic ripped through the United States and caused unprecedented unemployment levels, newsrooms were in a severe state of decline. Regular, massive layoffs have, unfortunately, become as routine as burnt coffee in the office life of a journalist. Newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 23% between 2008 and 2019, and employment at newspapers in particular dropped by about half.

      As layoffs became increasingly commonplace, newly unemployed journalists began announcing the drinking holes they would be congregating in, and friends at other publications would call up and pay down their tabs or even send pizza. The process has been referred to, and is not unlike, a very boisterous wake and is also a common practice among campaign staffers.

      This time around, a Venmo fund was created and promoted on Twitter by Nora Biette-Timmons, a HuffPost union committee member. By the mid-afternoon, she had already received donations into the high four-digits, and plans had been made for pandemic-appropriate drinks in the afternoon—it helps that New York City was feeling particularly sunny and springlike. The money, she noted, would be divided up into a self-care fund for the newly unemployed and wasn’t just intended to be used to purchase beer. That means former employees will receive a fair share of the money and will be free to use it on whatever they want, though they're encouraged to use it on something that makes them feel happy and cared for.

      Members of the HuffPost union (of which 33 members, nearly 30%, were let go March 9), also worked to create a spreadsheet with job opportunities and appropriate contacts for journalists now looking for work during a pandemic that has been particularly harsh on journalists.

      In 2020, media layoffs paced at record highs, as the pandemic led to a loss in the advertising revenue that many publications rely on.

      When it comes to the woes facing the news industry, there’s plenty of finger pointing to be done: the Internet, the social media conglomerates dictating misguided pivots to video, bad business decisions, the reframing of publications as billionaire pet projects, and so on. But no number of think pieces about the state of the media has stopped the steady Twitter stream of “I was just laid off, and I’m looking for freelance work” announcements.

      On March 9, Peretti told employees that the cuts were meant to “fast-track the path to profitability” for HuffPost after its losses exceeded $20 million last year. "When BuzzFeed was losing too much money, we adjusted our strategy and our size," Peretti reportedly told employees. "It was difficult, painful work, but now we have a stronger business than ever before. We want HuffPost to be in the same position of strength, and we will apply all that we’ve learned and built to get there."

      The HuffPost Union, organized as part of the Writers Guild of America, East, slammed Peretti’s decision. “We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home. This is also happening less than a month after HuffPost was acquired by BuzzFeed. We never got a fair shot to prove our worth,” members wrote in a statement.

      Losing a job is never easy, but losing a job that has been guiding daily routines and perhaps even providing a sense of purpose in the midst of a global pandemic—while loneliness, anxiety, and economic pain run deep—can be particularly devastating. And traditional outlets for coping with the emotional distress and stress of losing a job aren't currently available to HuffPost staffers. They're hoping that these funds and spreadsheets can stand in for the traditional close-bodied commiseration with coworkers and loved ones after a layoff.

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