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Reporters Turning to PR as Jobs Evaporate

If this keeps up, we may have to reclassify this Media blog as an Obituary column. Here's today's toll:

  • The Boston Herald plans to lay off between 130 and 160 of its employees this summer.
  • The Baltimore Sun intends to cut around 100 jobs, over half of them from the newsroom.
  • The Hartford Courant intend to cut its weekday pages by 25 percent and its employees by 25 percent (from 232 to 175).
  • Palm Beach Newspapers, which owns both The Palm Beach Post and the Palm Beach Daily News, plans to cut 300 workers from its 1,350 person payroll.
  • The San Jose Mercury News, which has suffered waves of layoffs in recent years, said nine more editorial staffers will lose their jobs this week, as well as an unspecified number of other employees.
So, where will all of these laid off journalists go? According to an article in PR Week, a growing number of them are going to work in public relations. Furthermore, journalism professors have started seeing a similar trend among students.

"We are starting to see students that would rather study PR [than journalism], because they feel the opportunities will be better for them based on what's happening with print newspapers and other [media], that [journalism] might not be as feasible of a career for them right now," Monica Roberts, director of career development at Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Communications, told PR Week. "I also have a lot of young alumni who have been out [of college] for two to three years who have been switching as well."

This, if true, represents a fundamental shift of the talent pool from those trained to watch-dog power to those promoting companies, products, or services. Or, if that doesn't work, maybe they could all start writing obituaries!

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