Student journalists have to find the silver lining in industry layoffs

Shelby Adkins, Reporter

For about six years now, I have wanted to be a journalist.

I have watched closely as people at companies such as BuzzFeed and Viceland have worked to mold the internet and online media into what they are today. I have watched these people take on the transition from print news, to the new world of online media. I have watched these people give voices to the voiceless. I have watched these people bring to light subjects that are dark and taboo in hopes to start a discussion, and in turn remove stigmas. I have watched these people teach countless people how to cook, dress, better the world and better themselves.

And as of last month, I have watched these same people lose their jobs over “budget cuts.”

The end of January marked the end of many media personnel’s jobs at multiple companies, such as BuzzFeed, Viceland, Huffington Post and Yahoo News. These layoffs were the product of cutbacks that the companies allege are necessary to keep these companies successful.

Twitter erupted as these layoffs took place, with many of the now unemployed journalists looking to use it as a platform to find new jobs. They posted their credentials along with some of their amazing work. I looked at all of these tweets, and looked at these incredibly talented people, and thought to myself, how could they get rid of this talent? How can they lay off people who have literally molded the shape of online media. If they have can dispose of this kind of talent, why in the world would they hire me?

These layoffs send a clear message to student journalists: Media companies don’t care about journalists anymore. They don’t care how hard you work, how much money you make them or whether you have shaped the internet to the way it is today. You are disposable, and its heartbreaking.

It makes aspiring journalists wonder what the industry will even be like once they have a chance to get in it, or if it will even be there. If these industry leading companies are ridding themselves of this level of talent now, will they except my talent in the future?

The comforting fact is that media will always be around. If large companies like BuzzFeed want to concern themselves more with their revenue than the quality of their media, then so be it.

It will be up to us, the new generation of journalists, to keep molding online media to what our audiences need. The world needs journalists, needs journalism and needs you. These layoffs may make you feel like the industry is turning into something you no longer want to be a part of, but it is our job to correct the industry and make it whatever we need to it be.

Dear student journalists, don’t give up.