More layoffs for sports desks at major newspapers
The GIST: Following last week’s ESPN layoffs, the sports media business continues to contract. The New York Times (NYT) announced the disbandment of its sports desk on Monday, while the LA Times will shrink their daily sports coverage in just another sign of the times.
The New York Times: In lieu of its sports department, the newspaper will rely on The Athletic for sports coverage. The (unsurprising) move comes after the NYT acquired the websitefor $550M last year, which has been scrambling for success since.
- Despite more than doubling subscribers, The Athletic has posted over $43M in total operating losses since January 2022.
- The move displaces roughly 35 employees, but no layoffs are expected. Still, the NewsGuild of NY is gearing up for a labor fight as those roles, previously filled by union workers, will now be filled by non-union Athletic writers. Drama.
LA Times: Across the country, the LA Times decided to do away with game stories, box scores, and standings on Sunday. The news follows the paper’s sports section's transformation into a “daily sports magazine” feel and the sale of its printing press, which made deadlines less conducive for late games.
Zooming out: It’s old news that print journalism is dying and media companies are “going digital,” but even digital media strategy is changing. To align with trends and younger generations’ sports consumption habits, companies are relying more on social media, as in-depth media takes the form of newsletters (shameless plug) and podcasts (another shameless plug).
- With layoffs and shrinking sports sections already common in smaller markets, is this the final nail in the coffin? Or is it just another shift in the way journalists tell stories? The times they are a-changin’ and the media will keep changing with it.