Poor state for the Journalism Industry amid Lockdown

Business COVID-19 National

Swalpi Bajpai

Kanpur, April 16, 2020

The most powerful media houses across the countries took the decision to lay off staff members, cut salary to half or have given leave for an indefinite time.

A major leading news company, Times of India sacked about 28 members working in the Sunday magazine team. Nona Walia, a member of the team went on Facebook to express her angst to the situation.

An anonymous journalist working at Times of India said, “Every company is incurring losses. Not just TOI, but, I feel had the CEOs and the top bosses taken a pay cut of at least 10%, these people wouldn’t have lost their jobs.”

While Times of India sacked the entire Sunday magazine team about half of The Quint team employees were asked to go on leave without pay for indefinite time.

Editor of The Quint gave a layoff to 45 of its 200 employees by sending them an electronic mail. In this mail, he said, “We are forced to request you to proceed on a “furlough” (i.e. Leave Without Pay, LWP) w.e.f .15th of April, until further notice. Your pay for the half-month, from April 1 through 15, shall be processed and released very soon.”

Image Credits- Quint

While this was the case with digital media, Newslaundary tweeted about the layoffs TV channels like India Today did, who prepared a list of people to be fired including 46 reporters, six cameramen and 17 producers due to incurring extreme losses.

Lack of circulation due to COVID has led to major problems for the print sector. The number of pages in the newspaper has decreased and some newspapers have halted the circulation, as well.

Not only the companies are laying off people but they are also cutting their salaries off.

Due to the pandemic, most of the companies are not able to invest money in generating ads because of which these media houses are not getting private ads. TV channels like NDTV also chopped 30% salary of its entire staff.

Abhishek, a senior digital correspondent at NDTV said, “We only get the benefit of TRP when there are ads. Due to the lockdown, we are not able to get ads from big companies. If you notice, apart from social ads there are no such advertisements one can see. We have to give 27-28 minute content in a half an hour show when 8 minutes should be of ads. As the companies are not able to generate revenues, they are cutting the cost.”

Many other news companies have also cut salaries off by 30%.

Indian Express and Business Standard both asked their staff to take a cut down on salaries by 30% says reports.

Recently Google has announced a Journalism relief fund to help the local news houses that are worst affected. Apart from this Google.org is donating about $1 million collectively to the International Center for Journalists which have planned measures to support the reporters globally.


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