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Journalists mourn the loss of newsrooms as publishers give up office space to save money

Working from home is the norm for five months. Some journalists who used to travel to the office love this new rhythm. Others miss the office deeply and can’t wait to return. Some will soon have no choice in the matter.

tribune (TPCO) The publisher has decided to save money by giving up its news space in New York, Allentown, Annapolis and Orlando. Other publishers have done the same or are thinking about it. Television networks and other types of media companies are expected to shrink their footprint into anything post-pandemic “new normal.”

Flexibility and cost savings will be gained, but some things will be lost. Intangible materials such as companionship in the newsroom and a sense of place.


7;s announcement Wednesday was a “blow to the gut,” Stephanie Sigafos of the Morning Call newspaper in eastern Pennsylvania told me.

It was “devastating,” added her colleague Jennifer Sheen. “We’ve been part of downtown Allentown for almost a century.”

“It’s really hard to work from home, but we’ve all done it to be safe, to keep our families safe and to do our jobs,” Sheehan said. “But that’s not what each of us wants. The newsroom allows reporters to bounce ideas from each other, share ideas and offer drilling. You won’t get anything out of working at home on your kitchen table.”

Most importantly, Sigafoos said, “It’s painful to think you’ll be a newsroom without an information room.” When you “take people out of the newsroom, you take part of the newspaper’s soul.”

>> Among the documents affected by the Tribune’s decision: New York Daily News. “Once a tabloid known for its bustling, large city newsroom, it no longer has an information room,” wrote Mark Tracy of the New York Times.

“Journalism is not meant to be done in isolation”

Kerry Flynn writes: “It’s no surprise to see the Tribune cut real estate costs. During a call to the company’s profit last week, CFO Mike Lavey said” reducing our real estate footprint “is among the priorities for “Maintaining yourself in the long run. Gannett CEO Mike Reed made similar remarks in his call for profit last week, noting that the company plans to “sell properties worth $ 100 million to $ 125 million by the end of 2021.” Leader, who had an interested buyer earlier this summer. “
Flynn continues: “Documents like the Herald-Leader have a lot of unused space due to cuts, regionalization and other reasons. But these cost-cutting decisions are devastating for already exhausted newsroom employees. In Annapolis, Capital Gazette reporter Olivia Sanchez tweeted, “This message completely turned off the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, working well. Journalism is not meant to be done in isolation, we are stronger when we are together and integrated in communities. which we serve. We need news. “
>> Flynn adds: “In May, I wrote about the pandemic that is pushing journalists from DC and New York City and how widespread newsrooms could be useful for journalism. But journalists are still thriving in physical newsrooms. About this story, Medium Vice President Siobhan O’Connor told me, “I just don’t like sitting in a room with other artists who are pouring out ideas for history. I get a lot of energy from it and we do it on Zoom and on the phone. Just honestly skip the IRL companionship. “”

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