Two reporters fired amid widespread industry-wide layoffs this year are launching a nonprofit organization to protect other journalists from a similar fate as big tech companies continue to threaten the industry's viability.
Laura Bassett, a former culture and political reporter at HuffPost, and John Stanton, a former BuzzFeed News Washington bureau chief, founded the Save Journalism Project. It aims to save the industry from the "monopolistic power of big tech companies," according to a news release.
According to the Save Journalism founders, firms like Google and Facebook dominate the digital advertising market, distributing news content without paying to produce it and dismantling traditional newspapers and digital news outlets.
The newly founded nonprofit estimates 2,400 journalists lost their jobs in 2019 so far. It also estimates 1,300 communities lost local news coverage in the last 15 years, with 60 percent of the nation's counties without a daily newspaper and 171 with no newspaper coverage at all.
In part, the Save Journalism Project aims to educate journalists on the side of the industry reporters tend to ignore — the business side.
Bassett told BuzzFeed she never paid attention to the financial side of journalism before her recent layoff.
"After getting laid off, I started to become really interested in why all of these amazing news publishers were sort of going under, having to lay off staff, why we were losing local newspapers. It’s a tragedy, it’s really bad for democracy," she said.
Stanton told BuzzFeed the organization also wants to encourage reporters to speak up about issues facing the industry.
“Reporters are not generally super interested in speaking about their own problems and about things that affect them directly because they feel like it becomes a conflict of interest, and in certain ways that’s true,” Stanton said.
“But when the future of the free press is being pretty seriously endangered by something, I think it’s incumbent upon us to stand up for ourselves," he added.
Information about getting involved with the Save Journalism Project is found on the organization's website.