Ex-BuzzFeed bureau chief says Google, Facebook are 'crippling' news industry

John Stanton, a former BuzzFeed News Washington bureau chief, warned Monday that the news industry is struggling to support itself and big tech is largely to blame.

“Google and Facebook and Apple they control so much of the ability to get your information out there, to get your stories out and then they control so much of the ad revenue coming back in that’s it’s crippling the industry again,” Stanton, who is now the co-founder and spokesmen for nonprofit organization the Save Journalism Project, told Hill.TV.

Stanton said that firms like Google and Facebook are monopolizing the digital advertising market, and dismantling traditional newspapers and digital new outlets in the process.

“I think the biggest problem is … we have these sort of monopolistic companies that control all ends of the advertising, he said. “That’s what I think is really hurting us right now.”

Stanton was among several journalists fired earlier this year amid industry-wide layoffs. He told Hill.TV that he hopes his new initiative will help other journalists avoid a similar fate by educating those on the part of the industry that many reporters tend to ignore — the business side.

“Everybody who has worked in the media has worked for somebody that is shady,” he told Hill.TV. “They’ve got some agenda they want and so we always have this tension of fighting that, but we need to be much more aware of what they are doing with our money.”

Stanton’s comments come amid a new study by the News Media Alliance, which found that Google made roughly $4.7 billion in ad revenue from the news industry last year.

The number of local newspapers and newsroom jobs, meanwhile, are dropping at an alarming rate.

The Save Journalism Project estimates that 2,400 journalists have lost their jobs in 2019 so far and some lawmakers have already taken notice.

The House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust investigation into tech giants is expected to hold a hearing this week for industry leaders and advocates who believe Silicon Valley is to blame for the decline.

⁠—Tess Bonn